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A TREATISE 



ON THE 



LAW OF SEDITION 



AND 



COGNATE OFFENCES 



BRITISH INDIA, 

PENAL AND PREVENTIVE, 

WITH 

AN EXCERPT OF THE ACTS IN FORCE RELATING TO THE 
PRESS, THE STAGE, AND PUBLIC MEETINGS. 






WALTER RUSSELL DONOGH, M.A., 

Of'.the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-Law, 

AND AN Advocate of the High Court at Calcutta, 

Author of A Manual on the Indian Stamp Law. 



SALUS REIPUBLIC/E SUPREMA LEX 



CALCUTTA : 

THACKEk, SPINK & CO. 

191 1 



PRINTED BY 
tCHACKBR, SPINK AND COMPANY, CALCUTTA. 






" If men should not be called to account for possessing 
the people with an ill opinion of the Government, no 
Government can exist." — Lord Holt. 

" If a publication be calculated to alienate the affec- 
tions' of the people by bringing the Government into 
disesteem, whether the expedient be by ridicule or 
obloquy, the person so conducting himself is exposed to 
the inflictions of the law." — Lord Ellenborough. 



3023589 



PREFACE. 



If an apology be needed for the production of a work of 
this character, it might be possible to justify it on 
two grounds. One is the prominence which political 
offences of this type have assumed in India ; the other, the 
importance of the preventive legislation recently introduced 
■on the Statute-book, which, without prejudice to previously 
existing measures in pari materia, aims at a better control 
of the Platform and the Press. 

Either would afford a valid pretext for the existence 
of a trejitise which purports to combine, in a convenient 
form, two branches of the law which are closely related. 
The present work has been designed to accomplish this 
object. Its aim is to provide a complete handbook of the 
law on the subject — penal and preventive — for the use 
not only of those who may be called upon to apply its 
principles, but also for those who desire a more intimate 
acquaintance with the subject — a handbook, in short, for 
both lawyer and layman. 

W. R. D. 

Calcutta, 

1st January, 1911. 



COMENTS. 

PART I. 

PENAL LAW. 

CHAPTER I. 

Origin and History of the Law. 

Page. 
Macaulay's draft Penal Code — Sir Barnes Peacock's revised Code — 
His letter to Mr. JMaine — Sir James Fitzjames Stephen's Speech 
in Council — Exposition of the Statute Law as to Sedition — Com- 
parison of proposed measure — Remarks on 'liberty of the Press' — 
Remarks on Journalism — The law of Sedition as framed by Act 
XXVII of 1S70 .. .. .. ,. 1—9- 

CHAPTER IT. 

Sedition at Common Law. 

As defuied by[Sir James Stephen — Definitions in ' Russell on Crimes' 
— Sullivan's case — Lord Fitzgerald's charge to Jury — His Defini- 
tion of Sedition — Dicia of Lord Mansfield, Lord Kenyon, and Sir 
Michael Foster — Character of the offence explained — Remarks on 
the functions of juries — ' Liberty of the Press' — Limits of politi- 
cal criticism — Seditious writings, prints, language — Liberal con- 
struction and generous verdicts desirable — Pigott's case — Baron 
Deasy's charge to Jury — Remarks on Journalism — Freedom of dis- 
cussion- — Limits of fair criticism . . . . . . 10 — 20' 

CHAPTER IIL 

Sedition at Common Law — contd. 

Trial of .John Burns — Justice Cave's charge to the Jury — Defini- 
tion of ' Seditious Words ' — Wiiat is not Sedition — ' Seditious in- 
tention' — Maxim of Lord Tenterden — Dictum of Lord Kenyon — 
Diclum of Lord Fitzgerald — Language as the index to intention 
— ' Seditious coirspiracy ' — Seditious meetings — Criminal liabi- 
lity of speakers and audience — Sedition against the King, or the 
Government — Divers meanings of the term Government — Lord 
Holt's conception — Lord Ellenborough's conception — Modern 
conception in England — Difference in India .. ..21 — 32" 



VIU CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER IV. 

The Law in Operation — The First Trial. 



Page. 



The ' Bangobasi case ' — Age of Consent Act — Passing of the Bill — 
Speech of Mr. Nugent on the public agitation — Necessity for le- 
gislation explained — Speeches by Sir A. Scoble, Sir G. Evans, and 
Rao Bahadur Nulkar — Speech by Lord Lansdowne — The Ban- 
gobasi Bxt\c\Q% — Arguments of Counsel — Sir C. Petheram's charge to 
Jury — His Definition of 'disaffection '—He distinguishes disap- 
probation — His directions as to class of readers, class of paper, 
intention of writer, proof of intention — Government of India 
defined .... .. .. ... ••'33 — 41 

CHAPTER V. 

Some Notable Trials. 

Tilak's case — Incidents of the trial — Seditious articles in Kesari — 
Arguments of Counsel — Murders at Poona referred to — Justice 
Strachey's charge to Jury — Section 124A explained — ' Disaffec- 
tion ' defined — Directions as to attempt, intention, meaning — 
Language as an index to motives — Distinction between language 
of hostility and that of loyalty — Value of the charge as an exposi- 
tion of the law— Endorsed by the Privy Council — Cited by other 
High Courts — A compendium of law and practice . . . .42 — 50 

CHAPTER VI. 

Some Notable Trials — contd. 

* Satara case' — Seditious article in the Prntod — Sit C. Farran's com- 
ments — Views of Justices Parsons and Ranade — Value of the Full 
Bench decision as an exposition of the law — ' Disaffection ' ex- 
plained by Sir C. Farran, and Justices Parsons and Ranade — The 
' explanation ' to section 124A criticised— The Allahabad case of 
Amba Prosad — Facts of the case in judgmeno of Full Bench — 
' Disaffection ' defined and the law explained — The ' explana- 
tion ' condemned — The result of the four trials reviewed and 
judicial dicta summarised .. .. .. ..r>l — .o9 

CHAPTER VII. 

The Law Amended. 

The reasons for the amendment — Speech by the Law Member — Alter- 
native lines of action — Defects in the penal law — The four notable 
trials referred to — Judicial interpretation of the section stated — 
.Sir James Stephen cited — Necessity for plainer language — No 



CONTENTS. IX 

i'AGS. 

change in the principles of the law — Merely a re-statenient in ac- 
cordance with consentient judicial authority — The proposed 
.clause enunciated — Promoting class hatred included — Changes 
made by the Select Committee — Opposition to Bill — Difference 
in English and Indian conditions pointed out — Speeches by the 
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal and Sir G. Evans — State of the 
Indian Press since repeal of Press Act in 1882^ Reluctance of the 
Government to resort to preventive legislation — Remarks of Mr. 
Chalmers and the President, Lord Elgin . . • • 60 — 70 

CHAPTER VIII. 

What is Sedition. 

The new section 124A — No change in the law — Modifications ex- 
plained — The meaning of Sedition^ — ' Disaffection ' not defined in 
the section — Reason for this — Meaning of term ' disaffection ' — 
Not the converse of affection — Disloyalty distinguished — Sedi- 
tion defined — Object of introducing the terms ' hatred ' and 
' contempt ' — ' Feelings of disaffection ' judicially explained — 
Views of Sir C. Petheram, Sir C. Farran, Sir John Edge, Sir L. 
Jenkins and Justices Strachey, Parsons, Ranade and Batty- 
Methods of exciting ' feelings of disaffection ' specified in section 
124A — Publication essential to constitute an offence— Mere writing 
of seditious words is not enough — Sedition in innuendo — 
The attempt is as rnuch an offence as the act — Difficulty of proving 
results — Attempt defined — ' Intention ' necessarj' though not 
specifically mentioned — Language and conduct as a guide to the 
intention — Views expressed by Sir C. Petheram, Sir L. Jenkins, 
and Justice Strachey — Dicta of Lord Tenterden and Justice Best 
— ' Intention ' explained by Sir John Edge — Justice Batty's con- 
struction of the term ' Government ' — Views of Justice Strachey — 
The older conception of the term in England compared ..71 — 83 

CHAPTER IX. 

Criminal Liability. 

Taking part in the dissemination of seditious matter — Rules as to 
joint liability — Dictum of Sir C. Petheram, C. J. — Views of Justice 
Strachey — Effect of registration under Press Act of 1867 — Rule 
when publication is admitted — when publication is denied — Re- 
marks of Sir C. Farran, C. J., in ' Satara case ' as to liability of an 
editor — As to a declared printer and publisher acting negligently 
—The Madras ruling on Act XXV of 1867— Effect of Lord Camp- 
bell's Act in England — Rule laid down for India — Remarks of 
Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., in Luxman's case as to liability of sub-editor 
and writer — His remarks in Vinayek's case as to printei's and 



X CONTENTS. 

Page» 
publishers — Remarks of Justice Batly in Ehaskar's case on the 
same — Views expressed in the Bande Mataram case by an appel- 
late bench — Remarks on efficacy of Registration in Jugantar case 
— Remarks in the Rungpur Bartnbalui appeals — Publication an 
essential element in the offence — Lord Esher's illustration of inad- 
vertent publication — Mr. Mayne's remarks on the same — Liability 
of booksellers and news vendors — Almon's case — The sale of ' Ju- 
nius's Letters ' — Lord Mansfield's rule as to a bookseller's liabi- 
lity — Principle of Loid Campbell's Act — Liability of news ven- 
dors — Liability of libraiians — Rule as to innocent dissemina- 
tion . . . . . . . . 84 — 9T 

CHAPTER X. 

What is not Sedition. 

The object of the Explanation to section 124A — Effect of the modifi- 
cations introduced in 1898 — Observations of Justice Strachey 
on foimer provision — Protection limited to ' comments ' — Differ- 
ence between exciting ' disapprobation ' and exciting ' disaffec- 
tion '—Observations of Sir L. Jenkins — Remarks of Justice Battj^ 
— A plea of truth is no defence to a seditious libel — Observa- 
tions of Sir L. Jenkins and Sir John Edge — Rule of construction 
laid down by Lord Fitzgerald, cited by Sir C. Petheram — The 
correct method of treating isolated passages in a seditious article 
— The proper use of characteristic or particular phrases — The ob- 
ject of admitting collateral matter — The rule applies to speeches, 
and lectures as well as to articles— Applied to a book of poems — 
Views expressed in the Knrmajogin case — The proper value of 
translations from the vernacular — Views of Justice Strachey on 
free and literal translations— Conclusions deduciblc therefrom 08 — HO 

CHAPTER XI. 

Incidents and Rules of Practice. 

Rule as to seditious matter reproduced from other publications — 
Observations of Lord Fitzgerald — Doctrines enunciated in the 
Bande Mataram case— Rules to be observed in estimating the 
effect of seditious matter — Directions by Justice Stracliey — View.* 
expressed by Mr. Mayne — Approved by the Madras High Court 
— The question of Punisliment— Directions by Sir C. Farran, C. J. 
— Remarks of Sir Jolm Edge, C. J. — The real tesr applicable to 
all cases — Limits imposed by Criminal Procedure Code — Sanc- 
tion of the Covernment necessary — Amount of proof considered 
sufficient in Tilaks case — Remarks of the Full Bench in Bombay 
case — Remarks of Sir A. White, C. J. — Other safeguards provided 
by the Legislature — Further incidents of the offence 111 — 121 



CONTENTS. XI 

CHAPTER XII. 

Abetmknt of Sedition. 

Page. 
The general provisions of the Penal Code applicable — Three ways of 
abetting an act — An abettor is an accessory before the fact — No 
provision for an accessory after the fact — Abetment as defined in 
the Code — Definitions in ' Russell on Crimes ' and Mayne's ' Cri- 
minal Law ' — Definitions by Justice Willes, Justice Grose and 
Sir James Stephen — Tlie leading case of abetment by conspiracy 
— The meaning of ' Swaraj ' discussed — Incidents of tlie case of 
Chidambaram Pillai — Abetment by aid illustrated in the case of 
Lealcut Hossein a,nd Abdul Otiffur .. .. ]22 — 135 

CHAPTER XIII. 

The Later Cases. 

The first trials after the amendment of 189S — Articles in tlie (rurakhi, 
a Bombay newspaper — Comments of Sir L. Jenkins in Liixman's 
case — The article ' A white man's gun ' — Comments of Sir L. 
Jenkins thereon in Vinayek's case — The trial of Bhaskar — Article in 
the Bhala published at I'oona entitled ' A Durbar in Hell ' — 
Justice Batty"s comments tiiereon — Case of the Bande Mataram of 
Calcutta — The article entitled ' Folitics for the Indians ' — Com- 
ments of tile High Court thereon — The Jugantar case — Trial of the 
printer and charge to the Jury — Judicial comments on the 
seditious articles .. .. .. 130 — 149 

CHAPTER XIV. 

The Later Cases — contd. 

Book of Poems entitled a ' Short series for new India ' — Judicial 
comments on the character of the book — The Rungpur Bartabaha 
appeals — The articles charged — Inaccurate translations — Judicial 
comments on the articles — Liability of an absent printer — The 
Karmajogin case — The ' open letter ' of Arabindo Ghose entitled 
' To my Gountrymen ' — Comments of Justice Fletcher thereon 150 — 162 

CHAPTER XV. 

Cognate Offences. 

The ofiEence of ' Promoting class hatred ' originally considered i a 
form of sedition as in England — Reasons for the [separation by 
the Select Committee — The new section introduced as section 
153A — Its close affinity with section 124A — Numerous inci- 
dents in common — The law of Abetment appHes to both equally 
— ^Rules of procedure common to both — Cases under section 153A 



xii CONTENTS. 

Pagk. 

Difficulty of proving the offence hitherto — The Cognate offence 

of ' Circulating Mischievous Reports ' — Defects in former sec- 
tion 505 — The necessity for amendment — Important modifica 
tions made in the ' Exception ' — The new section 505 — The case 
of Manbir under cl. (6)— Strong affinity between d. (c) and section 
153A — Rules and incidents of procedure common to both the Cog- 
nate offences . . . . . . 163—173. 



PAET 11. 

PREVENTIVE LAW. 

CHAPTER XVI. 
Ortgint and History of Preventive Measures. 

Causes which contributed to produce the first measure — Sir Thoma* 
Munro's celebrated minute on the Indian Press — The preventive 
legislation of 1823 based on a system of licenses — The main provi- 
sions of the various Ordinances and Regulations — The repe.\l in 
1835 and substitution of the system of registration now in force — 
Reasons for the repeal as stated in the minutes of Sir Charles 
Metcalfe and Mr. Macaulay — The minute of Mr. Prinsep predicting 
the possibility of future legislation^The main provisions of the 
Press Act of 1835 — The Indian Act modelled on an English Sta- 
tute — The legislation of 1857 — Speech of Lord Canning on the ne- 
cessity for legislation — Observations on the Native Press — Re- 
marks of Sir .James Colvile and Mr. Peacock — The purport of 
the Act of 1857— The legislation of 1867— Remarks of Mr. Hob- 
honse — The main provisions of the Act — The Stage legislated 
for in 1876 — Remari;s by Mr. Hobhouse on the Dramatic 
Performances Act . . . . . . 174 — 188 

CHAPTER XVII. 

Later Preventive Measures. 

The Vernacular Press Act of 1878 — Circumstances which led to it — 
Speech of Sir A. Arbuthnot in justification of the measure — The 
inefficiency of the Penal Law of Sedition — Tlie character of a 
certain section of the Indian Press — The necessity for preventive 
measures — Speech of Sir Charles Paul, Advocate- General of Ben- 
gal — Remarks of Sir G. Evans, Sir Ashley Eden, and Sir John 



CONTENTS. XIH 

Page. 
Strachey on the Vernacular Press — Observations of Lord Fitz- 
gerald cited from the charge in Sullivan's case — Lord Lytton's 
exhaustive speech — His views on the Press as an institution in 
India — Its alien characteristics and uncongenial surroundings — 
' Liberty of the Press ' a meaningless phrase — The necessity for con- 
trolling the sale of poisonous matter — The analogy of Lord Camp- 
bell's Act — Repudiation of the suggestion as to class legislation 
— Distinction not drawn between Europeans and natives — Only 
the vernacular papers afl'ected, and not native papers published 
in English . . . . . . . . 189—202- 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Later Preventive Measures — co7itd. 

The Vernacular Press Act amended — Reason for the amendment — 
Statement by Sir A. Arbuthnot as to. the operation of the Act for 
seven months — Results eminently satisfactory — Speech by Lord 
Lytton — Statement as to approval of Secretary of State and rati- 
fication of Parliament — Repeal of the Act — Speech by Sir W. 
Hunter — Reasons tor the repeal — Remarks of Lord Ripen — Conse- 
quences of the repeal — Statements by Sir A. Mackenzie and 
Sir G. Evans — Position in 1898 as described by the Law Member 
— Preventive measures of that year — Section 108 of the Criminal 
Procedure Code — Scope and object of the provision — Remarks 
by the Law Member- -Modifications by the Select Committee — 
Amendment and remarks by Sir G. Evans — Decision of the Cal- 
cutta High Court on the section — Various meanings given to the 
term Stvaraj — Decision of the Bombay High Court — Views of 
Justice Chandavarkar of Bombay — Correct ^lethod of recording 
speeches .. .. .. 203—216 

CHAPTER XIX. 

Recent Preventive Legislation. 

Act to prevent seditious meetings — -Speech by Sir H. Adamson — The 
Ordinance preceding the Act — Necessity for legislation explained — 
Scope of the measure and objects contemplated — Policy of 
' drift ' and the evils attending it — Remarks by Sir E. Baker — 
'Remarlcs by the President Lord Minto — The Bill for prevention 
of incitements to murder — Speech by Sir H. Adamson — State- 
ment as to the condition of the country and the necessity for con- 
trolling the seditious section of the Press — Scope of the measure 
and objects aimed at — Speech by Lord Minto — His views as to the 
urgent necessity for a general Press Act . . 217 — 228' 



31V CONTENTS, 

CHAPTER XX. 

The Latest Press Law. 

Page. 
The Bill for the ' better control of the Indian Press ' — Speech by 
Sir H. Risley — Scope of the measure — Its procedure explained — 
Objects aimed at, and methods provided — Limitations and checks 
introduced — Summary of Press legislation in India — State of the 
Press in 1877 — Statement of Sir Ashley Eden — Extreme for- 
bearance of the Government — Notification of 1907 — Prosecutions 
for sedition — The character of the seditious writing and doc- 
trines propounded — Political assassination and rebellion advocated 
— Long score of murders and attempted murders consequent on 
such teaching — Urgent need for legislation — Importance of the 
speech — The Press Act of 1910 in relation to other laws, penal 
and preventive . . . . . . 229 24u 

APPENDIX. 

Press and Registration of Books Act, 18G7 — Dramatic Perfor- 
mances Act, 1876 — Security for good behaviour, sec. 108 Criminal 
Procedure Code, 1898 — Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 
1907 — Newspapers (Incitements to Ofiences) Act, 1908 — Indian 
Press Act, 1910 .. .. .. 241—271 



PAET I. 

PENAL LAW. 



CHAPTER I. 

ORIGIN AND HISTORY OP THE LAW. 

The oriqia of this provision and the history of its introduc- 
tion into the Indian Statute Book is both interesting and im- 
portant. In 1837 it existed in gremio, as one of the clauses 
of Macaulay's draft Penal Code. That Bill, strange to say, was 
shelved for more than twenty years, and when at last it saw the 
light in 1860, the sedition clause for some unaccountable reason 
had been omitted. It was not in fact till 1870, ten years later, 
that the want of such a provision in a complete Code of Crimes 
came to be' recognised, with the result that a Special Act (XXVII 
of 1870) was passed by way of amendment to the Penal Code, 
introducing Macaulay's original clause practically unaltered, 
thirty-three years after its conception. 

Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, when introducing this Bill 
to amend the Penal Code, on the 2nd of August 1870, observed 
that the provision in question " was one which, by some unac- 
countable mistake, had been omitted from the Penal Code as 
ultimately passed. It stood as section 113 in the draft Code 
published in 1837, and Sir Barnes Peacock was quite unable 
to account for its omission when the Code was enacted. It 
punished ' attempts to excite feelings of disaffection to the Gov- 
ernment,' but it distinguished between disaffection and disap- 
probation, and explained that ' such a disapprobation of the mea- 
sures of the Government as was compatible with a disposition 
to render obedience to the lawful authority of the Government, 
and to support the lawful authority of the Government against 
unlawful attempts to subvert or resist that authority, was not 
disaffection, ' so that ' the making of comments on the measures 
D, LS 1 



2 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

of the Government with the intention of exciting only this species 
of disapprobation' was not an offence within this section." 

On a subsequent occasion (25th November 1870), when 
presenting the report of the Select Committee, the Hon'ble 
Member once more reverted to the subject. In repudiating 
a suggestion that the Bill had been hastily drawn, he referred 
to a letter written by Sir Barnes Peacock to Mr. Maine his pre- 
decessor, on the subject of the omission of Macaulay's clause 
from the Code. In that letter Sir Barnes Peacock had said — 
* ' I have looked to my notes and I think the omission of a section 
in lieu of section 113 of the original Penal Code must have occur- 
red through mistake, though I have no distinct recollection of 
it. After the original Code had been carefully revised, the ori- 
ginal Code and the revised Code were printed in double columns. 
I send herewith a copy of the section proposed in the revised 
Code to be substituted for section 113." And he concluded 
his letter with the remark : " I am sorry that I cannot throw 
any further light upon the matter, as I have no note as to the 
adoption or rejection of that clause. I feel, however, that it was 
an oversight on the part of the Committee not to substitute 
some section for section 113." Commenting on these facts Sir 
James Stephen thought that the letter was ' ' as strong evidence 
as it was possible to obtain for the assertion made by him that 
there was a section to the present effect, which ought to have 
been submitted to the Council and to have been passed, and 
that it was omitted through a mistake or oversight which it was 
difficult now to account for. He had referred to the debates 
which took place in the Council, but there was no reference 
in those debates to any such provision. The result seemed to 
him to be clear, that when a Bill was finally passed through the 
Committee, a section equivalent to the present section was 
omitted by some mistake." 

" In an event of this kind," he asked, " what was the duty 
of the Government ? It was to repair the omission, whoever 
might have been to blame for it. " He then proceeded to explain 
that the Select Committee had anxiously considered the section 
drawn by Sir Barnes Peacock, when he was Law Member, which 
had been appended to his letter as the provision ' ' proposed to be 
substituted for one which appeared in the original draft of the 



OKIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE LAW. 3 

Code." " The Committee," he added, " with all respect to 
Sir Barnes Peacock, came to the conclusion that it was not an 
improvement on the original draft. For one thing, it was very 
much more severe.^'' He then quoted the rejected section to 
demonstrate the fact. It is unnecessary to cite the provision 
here, but it will be sufficient to note the somewhat remarkable 
circumstance that the highly judicial mind of the most emi- 
nent of Indian judges should have conceived a more drastic pro- 
vision than the illustrious biographer of Warren Hastings and 
Clive. 

Referring to the adopted clause Sir James Stephen added 
that " although he was not prepared to say that it was the best 
that could have been adopted, the Committee unanimously 
came to the conclusion that the best course was to leave it as the 
Commissioners had settled it. ' ' 

" The clause," he continued, "was somewhat lengthy, 
but its substance was sound good sense. It provided that any 
body who attempted to excite disaffection might be punished, 
but it insisted on the distinction between disaffection and dis- 
approbation. It expressly provided that people might express 
or excite disapprobation of any measure of the Government 
that was compatible with a disposition to render obedience to 
the lawful authority of the Government ; in other words, you 
might say what you liked about any Government measure or 
public man ; you might publish or speak whatever you pleased, 
so long as what you said or wrote was consistent with a dis- 
position to render obedience to the lawful authority of Govern- 
ment." 

He next proceeded to assert that ' ' this law was substantial- 
ly the same as the law of England at the present day, though it 
was much compressed, much more distinctly expressed, and 
freed from a great amount of obscurity and vagueness with which 
the law of England was hampered." 

He then went on to state how the law of England stood on 
this subject. ' ' It consisted of three parts. There was first the 
Statute, commonly called the Treason-Felony Act (11 Vic, c. 12) ; 
secondly, the Common Law with regard to seditious libels ; and 
thirdly, the law as to seditious words. He might observe in 
regard to this law that section 2 of the Penal Code enacted that 



4 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

every person shall be liable ' to punishment under this Code 
and not otherwise for every act or omission contrary to the pro- 
visions thereof.' Hence the criminal law which prevailed before 
the passing of the Penal Code was still in force as to such offences 
as the Code did not punish. The result might very possibly 
surprise some gentlemen, especially those who were connected 
with the Press in the presidency towns, and he would draw 
attention to it. In the presidency towns the Criminal law of 
England was still in force, except in so far as it was superseded 
by the Penal Code. Any person who within the Mahratta ditch 
or in Bombay or Madras wrote anything which at Common Law 
would be a seditious libel would be liable to the penalties which 
the law of England inflicted, which were fine and imprisonment 
at least, to say nothing of whipping and the pillory. No doubt 
the penalties last mentioned would not now be enforced, but the 
law still existed, and he wished to point out that, so far from 
enacting a severe law they were, in truth, doing away to a 
considerable extent with severe laws. As for the Mofussil, it 
appeared that the Muhammadan Criminal law prevailed so far 
as it was not superseded by the Penal Code. He had tried 
to ascertain what the Muhammadan law was. He had found 
nothing on the subject of seditious libel, but had found much on 
the subject of rebellion, which however was so vaguely expressed 
that it might possibly justify the infliction of very strange 
penalties for sedition and libel." Such were the dangers that 
beset the path of the unwary journalist, prior to 1870. 

The further observations of Sir James Stephen on the law 
of England as then adapted to the exigencies of India are also 
of much weight. Section 3 of the Treason-Felony Act (1848) 
was as follows : — " And be it enacted that if any person what- 
soever after the passing of this Act shall, within the United King- 
dom or without compass, imagine, invent, devise or intend to 
deprive or depose our most Gracious Lady the Queen, Her heirs 
or successors, from the style, honour, or royal name of the Im- 
perial Crown of the United Kingdom, or of any other of Her 
Majesty's dominions and countries, or to levy war against Her 
Majesty, her heirs or successors, within any part of the United 
Kingdom, in order by force or constraint to compel her or them 
to change her or theii- measures or counsels, or in order to put 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OP THE LAW. 

any force or constraint upon or in order to intimidate or overawe 
both houses or either house of Parliament, or to move or stir any 
foreigner or stranger with force to invade the United Kingdom^ 
or any other Her Majesty's dominions or countries under obei- 
sance of Her Majesty, her heirs or successors, and such compass- 
ings, imaginations, inventions, devices, or intentions, or any of 
them, shall express, utter, or declare, by publishing any print- 
ing or writing, or by open and advised speaking, or by any overt 
actor deed, every person so offending shall be guilty of felony, 
and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of 
the Court, to be transported beyond the seas for the term of his 
or her natural life, or for any term not less than seven years, or 
to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years, with or 
without hard labour, as the Court shall direct." 

That in plain English meant that " any one who conceived 
in his heart any one of all these intentions, and who showed 
that intention either by any act or any writing was liable to trans- 
portation for life. " This clearly showed that of the two " the 
law of England was more severe. " " The proposed section saysj 
if you excite feelings of disaffection, either by speaking or writ- 
ing, you shall be liable to punishment ; and the law of England 
says, in substance, that if you yourself feel disloyal towards the 
Queen and show that feeling by any writing, you shall be liable 
to punishment. The proposed section did not relate to a man's 
feelings or wishes, but simply to his writings or words, and the 
feelings which they were intended to produce in others. But 
the great peculiarity of the English law of treason was to regard 
every thought of the heart as a crime which was to be punished 
as soon as it was manifested by any overt act. That was the 
English law as it stood according to the Treason-Felony Act." 

After such a lucid exposition of the Statute law of England 
and its analogy to the proposed measure, it is to be regretted 
that the learned jurist did not proceed to expound the principles 
of seditious libel in the Common Law, and trace their analogy 
in the same manner. But he merely added that " in the book 
which was commonly quoted on all subjects connected with 
English Criminal law (Russell on Crimes), there was a very 
long history about seditious libel compiled from various author- 
ities. The law Was very vaguely expressed, and he hoped that 



6 THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

some one might soon reduce to a few short sentences the great 
mass of dicta on the subject. " 

Whether the vagueness of expression complained of was 
reflected in the proposed measure, or the great mass of judicial 
dicta which adorn the English State trials created unforeseen 
difficulties it is impossible to say. But the fact remains that 
shortly after the new law began to operate and was brought to 
the test of concrete cases, though that was not till more than 
twenty years later, it was found necessary to amend it. 

The Hon'ble Member next addressed himself to the various 
objections that had been raised in derogation of the Bill, and his 
observations on its probable effect on the freedom of the Press 
are terse and forcible. " There was one last objection to which 
he would refer in a more general way. It was the general phrase- 
that this was an interference with the liberty of the Press. Short 
phrases of this kind involved a surprising quantity of nonsense. 
He thought that that unfortunate phrase in particular had been 
made the subject of more fallacies than almost any other sen- 
tence. Liberty and law simply excluded each other : liberty 
extended to the point at which law stopped : liberty "was what 
vou might do, and law was what you might not do. To advocate 
the liberty of the Press absolutely would be nothing else than to 
advocate the doctrine that everybody should be allowed to write- 
what he liked. That was obviously absurd. Everybody ad- 
mitted that personal slander ought not to be permitted. Hence 
the phrase ' liberty of the Press ' was mere rhetoric. It con- 
tained ao definite meaning whatever. The question was not 
whether the Press ought or ought not to be free, but whether it 
ought to be free to excite rebellion. He did not believe that any 
sane man would say in so many words that all people ought to 
commit any crime whatever, so long as they did not commit 
overt acts themselves ; but no degree of liberty short of this would 
justify a journalist or any one else in exciting people to commit 
rebellion. " 

" Journalism," he continued, " when properly conducted, 
was as honourable a pursuit as any other. He could not 
imagine a worse policy than to permit journalists to do what 
they would not permit other people to do. If we wished the 
Indian Press to be what it ought to be ; if we wished it to be con- 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE LAW. 1 

ducted honestly, and to criticise tlie proceedings of Government 
fairly ; we could not do worse than treat it like a spoiled child. 
It would be monstrous to say to any newspapers, native or 
English, ' we permit you to slander private persons and to 
excite the public at large to rebellion and massacre, because we 
want to nurse you up into something great.' That was not 
the way to bring the Press or any other profession to good. We 
should protect them so long as they did not commit crime, and 
punish them if they did. It had been said that a few prosecu- 
tions would crush the native Press, and that they were not strong 
enough to bear the possibility of being misunderstood and 
punished for expressing intentions which they had never enter- 
tained. Such apprehensions appeared to him contemptible. 
Men must be content to take the risks incidental to their 
profession. A journalist must run the risk of being misunder- 
stood, and should take care to make his meaning plain. If his 
intentions were really loyal there could be no difficulty in doing 
so. If not, he could not complain of being punished." 

He then went on to consider whether such a danger really 
existed. '' One paper had said, ' If this law passes, we shall 
never know what we might say and what we might not.' If 
they wanted to see what they might say, all they had to do was 
to read the English newspapers, which were published under 
the same law, and they did not write very much as if they were 
under tyrannical rules. Their liberty included the following 
items at least. They might refute any thing which had been put 
forward and abuse anybody for bringing it forward ; and if they 
wanted to see more particularly what sort of things they were 
perfectly at liberty to say, they had only to refer to the files of 
the English newspapers printed during the last eight months, 
and read the articles on the Income-tax. Nobody ever said or 
thought that the authors of those articles were exciting disaffec- 
tion. So long as the English papers in this country published 
what they did publish, about every man, every measure, every 
principle which they thought it right to discuss, the native 
papers need not be under the smallest apprehension that they 
would fall under the pale of the law. He would appeal to any- 
body who knew what English public life was, whether any Gov- 
ernment which existed in this country was ever likely to bring 



8 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

a newspaper published in this town into Court on a charge Oi 
exciting sedition for mere discussion, however violent, persona' 
or unfair." 

The concluding remarks of the Hon'ble Member on thits 
point are equally forcible. To his mind the position was per- 
fectly clear. There was not the slightest danger of any one who 
honestly meant to be loyal, infringing the law unwittingly. " So 
much with regard to what people might say. He would nov.- 
state what they might not say. They might not say anything of 
which the obvious intention was to produce rebellion. It might 
be difficult to frame a definition which would, by mere force of 
words, exactly include the liberty of saying all that you meant 
to allow to be said, and exclude the liberty of saying all that you 
did not mean to allow to be said. But although there was consi- 
derable difficulty in framing a definition of the kind, there was 
none whatever in drawing the line for yourself. Every man 
who was going to speak, every man who was going to write, 
ought to know perfectly well whether he intended to produce dis- 
afiection. If he did, he had himself to thank for the conse- 
quences of his acts : if he did not, he was quite sure of this, that 
no words which that man could write would convey to other 
people an intention that he did not intend to express. He 
did not believe that any man who sincerely wished not to excite 
disaffection ever wrote anything which any other honest ma/i 
believed to be intended to excite disaffection." 

" You could no more mistake the severity of criticism, or the 
severity of discussion, for the writing of a person whose object 
was to produce rebellion or excite disaffection against the Gov- 
ernment than you could mistake the familiarity of friendship 
for the familiarity of insult. Try to define what it was that 
made a difference between that neglect of ceremony which you 
expect from a friend, and that neglect of ceremony which was 
intended for insult, and you would be unable to express it in 
words. But no one could mistake the two things, and it was 
the same with exciting political disaffection." 

The Bill then passed into law as Act XXVII of 1870, an 
Act to amend the Indian Penal Code, The provision relating 
to sedition is contained in section 5, and is as follows : — 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE LAW. 9 

" Whoever by words, either spoken or intended to be read, 
or by signs, or by visible representation or otherwise, excites 
or attempts to excite feelings of disaffection to the Government 
established by law in British India, shall be punished with trans- 
portation for life or for any term, to which fine may be added, 
or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, 
to which fine may be added, or with fine. 

Explanation. — Sucli a disapprobation of the measures of 
the Government as is compatible with a disposition to render 
obedience to the lawful authority of the Government, and to 
support the lawful authority of the Government against unlawful 
attempts to subvert or resist that authority, is not disaffection. 
Therefore the making of comments on the measures of the Gov- 
ernment, with the intention of exciting only this species of dis- 
approbation, is not an offence within this clause. ' 

Section 13 of the Act made Chapter IV (General 
Exceptions), and Chapter V (Abetment) of the Penal Code 
applicable to the offence. It also applied Chapter XXIII 
(Attempts to Commit Offences), but with what object it is 
difficult to see, for the section itself provides for attempts. 

Section 14 provided that no charge of such an offence should 
be entertained by any Court unless the prosecution be instituted 
by order of, or under authority from, the Local Government. 

The law of sedition thus inaugurated on the 25th November 
1870, continued in force unmodified till the 18th February 
1898, a period of twenty-seven years. It will be necessary to 
consider how it operated during this long period, but before doing 
so, it seems desirable to interpose a short summary of the law 
of sedition in the Common Law, a subject which was left 
untouched by Sir James Stephen in his speech in Council. 



CHAPTER II. 

SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. 

It has been seen that Sir James Stephen, in his memorable 
speech in Council in support of the Bill, referred to "a very 
long history about seditious libel compiled from various authori- 
ties," in a well-known work entitled " Russell on Crimes,"" 
and at the same time expressed a hope " that some one might 
soon reduce to a few short sentences the great mass of dicta on 
the subject." 

Strangely enough the hope thus casually expressed 
was fulfilled by the learned jurist himself not long after. 
Seven years later his ' ' Digest of the Criminal Law ' ' of England 
appeared, wherein he defined, " in a few short sentences," the 
offence of sedition at Common Law. His definition was as fol- 
lows : — " Every one commits a misdemeanour who publishes ver- 
bally or otherwise any words or any document with 3, seditious 
intention. If the matter so published consists of words spoken, 
the ofience is called the speaking of ' seditious words.' If the 
matter so published is contained in anything capable of being 
a libel, the ofience is called the publication of a ' seditious 
libel.' " 

It will be observed that in the ofience thus defined, of utter- 
ing seditious language, whether written or spoken, there are two 
essential conditions — publication and a seditious intention. 

" To publish a libel," it is explained, " is to deliver it, read it, 
or communicate its purport in any other manner, or to exhibit 
it to any person other than the person libelled, provided that 
the person making the publication knows, or has an opportunity 
of knowing, the contents of the libel if it is expressed in words, 
or its meaning if ifc is expressed otherwise." 

" A seditious intention is an intention to bring into hatred 
or contempt, or to excite disaffection against the person of Her 
Majesty, her heirs or successsors, or the Government and consti- 
tution of the United Kingdom, as by law established, or either 
House of Parliament, or the administration of justice, or to 



SEDITION AT COMMOiV LAW. 



11 



excite Her Majesty's subjects to attempt, otherwise than by 
lawful means, the alteration of any matter in Church or State 
by law established, or to raise discontent or disaffection 
amongst Her Majesty's subjects, or to promote feelings of ill-will 
and hostility between different classes of such subjects. 

Then it is explained further that, " An intention to show 
that Her Majesty has been misled or mistaken in her measures, 
or to point out errors or defects in the Government or constitu- 
tion as by law established, with a view to their reformation, or 
to excite Her Majesty's subjects to attempt by lawful means the 
alteration of any matter in Church or State by law established, 
or to point out, in order to their removal, matters which are pro- 
ducing, or have a tendency to produce, feelings of hatred and 
ill-will between classes of Her Majesty's subjects, is not a 
seditious intention." 

Finally, the intention referred to might be presumed from 
conduct, which would, of course, include the language employed. 
" In determining whether the intention with which any words 
were spoken, any document was published, or any agreement 
{i.e., for seditious conspiracy) was made, was or was not sedi- 
tious, every person must be deemed to intend the consequences 
which would naturally follow from his conduct at the time and 
under the circumstances in which he so conducted himself. * 

Seditious conspiracy is thus defined : — " Every one commits 
a misdemeanour who agrees with any other person or persons to 
do any act for the furtherance of any seditious intention common 
to both or all of them." 

" If a meeting is held for the purpose of speaking seditious 
words to those who may attend it, those who take part in that 
design are guilty of a seditious conspiracy." 

These were the terms in which the English law of sedition 
was defined by one of the highest authorities on the Criminal 
law. But to this must be added the elaborate definitions now 
to be found in the monumental treatise expressly referred to by 
the learned jurist, as " Russell on Crimes." 

In the latest edition of that work sedition is thus defined : — 
" Sedition consists in acts, words, or writings, intended or calcu- 
lated, under the circumstances of the time, to disturb the tran- 
quillity of the State, by creating ill-will, discontent, disaffection, 



12 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

hatred, or contempt, towards the person of the King, or towardtj 
the Constitution or Parliament, or the Government, or the estab- 
lished institutions of the country, or by exciting ill-will between 
different classes of the King's subjects, or encouraging any class 
of them to endeavour to disobey, defy, or subvert the laws or 
resist their execution, or to create tumults or riots, or to do any 
act of violence or outrage, or endangering the public peace." 

This admirable definition leaves nothing to be desired in 
completenes.^, lucidity, and expressiveness. It comprises in 
fact the essence of the English case-law extending over a long 
period of years, and may be accepted as the final result of a 
careful selection of the most approved authorities. 

To this is appended a second definition founded upon the 
older authorities, which may be cited for its historical interest. 
It is stated thus : — " According to the older authorities it is 
seditious wantonly to defame or indecorously to calumniate 
that economy, order, and constitution of things which make up 
the general system of the law and Government of the country ; 
and more particularly to degrade or calumniate the person or 
•character of the Sovereign, or the administration of his Govern- 
ment by his officers and ministers of State, or the administration 
of justice by his judges, or the proceedings of either House of 
Parliament." 

From a comparison of these definitions it will be seen that 
the new measure introduced in 1870 by Sir James Stephen, was, 
as he described it, substantially the same as the law of England, 
as in fact it was intended to be. 

For a complete exposition of the law, however, recourse 
must be had to the two leading cases of Re(i. v. Sullivan (11 Cox, 
44) and Reg. v. Burns (16 Cox, 355) ; and to the celebrated 
•charges, delivered respectively by Lord Fitzgerald and Justice 
Cave. The former was a trial for ' seditious libel,' and the lat- 
ter for uttering ' seditious words.' 

In the first of these cases the defendants Sullivan and 
Pigott were in the year 1868, indicted for printing and publish- 
ing seditious libels upon Her Majesty's Government in their 
newspapers — the Weekly Neivs and the Irishman. 

Lord Fitzgerald, in addressing the grand jury for the 
County of Dublin, said : — "I have now to direct your attention 



SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. J 3 

to two cases of great public importance, in which the Attorney- 
General prosecutes the publishers of two weekly newspapers 
for a series of printed articles alleged to be seditious libels 
of a very dangerous character. As such prosecutions are 
unusual, I think it necessary, in the first instance to define 
sedition, and point out what is a seditious libel. Sedition is a 
crime against society, nearly allied to that of treason, and it 
frequently precedes treason by a short interval. Sedition in 
itself is a comprehensive term, and it embraces all those 
practices, whether by word, deed, or writing, which are calcu- 
lated to disturb the tranquillity of the State, and lead ignorant 
persons to endeavour to subvert the Government and the laws 
of the empire. The objects of sedition generally are to induce 
discontent and insurrection, and to stir up opposition to the 
Government, and bring the administration of justice into con- 
tempt : and the very tendency of sedition is to incite the people 
to insurrection and rebellion. Sedition has been described as 
disloyalty in action, and the law considers as sedition all those 
practices which have for their object to excite discontent or 
dissatisfaction, to create public disturbance, or to lead to civil 
war ; to bring into hatred or contempt the Sovereign or the 
Government, the laws or constitution of the realm, and generally 
all endeavours to promote public disorder." 

Having thus defined the character of the offence, the learned 
Judge continued : — " It is scarcely necessary to point out 
that to accomplish treasonable purposes, and to delude the weak, 
the unwary, and the ignorant, no means can be more effectual 
than a seditious Press. With such machinery the preachers of 
sedition can sow widecast those poisonous doctrines, which, 
if unchecked, culminate in insurrection and revolution. Lord 
Mansfield likened a seditious and licentious Press to Pandora's 
box— the source of every evil. Words may be of a seditious char- 
acter, but they might arise from sudden heat, be heard only by 
a few, create no lasting impression, and differ in malignity and 
permanent effect from writings. Sir Michael Foster said of the 
latter : ' seditious writings are permanent things, and if published 
they scatter the poison far and wide. They are acts of delibera- 
tion, capable of satisfactory proof, and not ordinarily liable to 
misconstruction ; at least they are submitted to the judgment 



l^ THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

of the Court naked and undisguised, as they came out of the 
author's hands.' 

The learned Judge next referred to the various articles pub- 
lished in the Irishman, which he divided into three classes. " As 
to the articles extracted from other papers," he said, "' it was 
recently contended that, even if these articles were of a seditious 
or treasonable character, yet the defendant was justified in pub- 
lishing them as foreign news. I am bound to warn you against 
this very unsound contention, and I may now tell you, with the 
concurrence of my learned colleague, that the law gives no such 
sanction, and does not in the abstract justify or excuse the re- 
publication of a treasonable or seditious article, no matter from 
what source it may be taken. In reference to all such republica- 
tions the time, the object, and all the surrounding circumstances 
are to be taken into consideration, and may be such as to rebut 
any inference of a criminal intention in republication." But 
in the absence of such circumstances " it would be reasonable to 
infer that the publisher intended what would be the natural 
consequences of his acts — namely, to promote some seditious 
obiect. If the law be powerless in the case of such publications, 
then we may as well blot out from the Statute book the chapter 
on seditious libel, which would take away from society the great 
protection which the law affords to their institutions." 

The learned Judge then referred to the articles in detail 
and continued : — " The crime is laid in the intent, and you can 
only find a Bill against the accused when you come conscien- 
tiously to the conclusion — assuming you find the articles to be 
seditious — that they were published with the intent laid in the 
indictment — namely, to spread, stir up, and excite disaffection 
and sedition amongst the Queen's subjects, to excite hatred and 
contempt towards Her Majesty's Government and administra- 
tion, to encourage, foster, and keep alive the Fenian conspiracy. 
The intention charged is varied in each Court." 

" With respect to the question of the freedom of the 
Press," his lordship added, " I feel bound to say a few words. 
Since 1692 there was complete liberty of the Press in great 
Britain and Ireland. By liberty of the Press I mean complete 
freedom to write and publish without isensorship and without 
restriction, save such as was absolutely necessary for the 



SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. 15 

preservation of society. Our civil liberty is largely due to a 
free Press, which is the principal safeguard of a free State, and 
the very foundation of a wholesome public opinion. Every 
man is free to write as he thinks fit, but he is responsible to 
the law for what he writes; he is not, under the pretence of 
freedom, to invade the rights of the community, or to violate 
the constitution, or to promote insurrection, or endanger the . 
public peace, or create discontent, or bring justice into contempt 
or embarrass its functions. Political or party writing, when 
confined within proper and lawful limits, is not only justifiable, 
but is protected for the public good, and such writings are to be 
regarded in a free and liberal spirit. A writer may criticise or 
censure the conduct of the servants of the Crown or the acts 
of the Government — he can do it freely and liberally — but it 
must be without malignity, and not imputing corrupt or mali- 
cious motives. With the same motives a writer may freely 
criticise the proceedings of Courts of justice and of individual 
judges — nay he is invited to do so in a free and fair and liberal 
spirit. The law does not seek to put any narrow construction 
on the expressions used, and only interferes when plainly and 
deliberately the limits are passed of frank and candid and honest 
discussion. Lord Kenyon has quaintly said, ' a man may 
publish whatever a jury of his countrymen think is not blamable.' 
In ordinary cases the facts are for the jury and the law for the 
judge ; but in cases of libel, and with a view to the true freedom 
of the Press the law casts on the jury the determination of both 
law and fact. You are to determine whether or not the publica- 
tions in question are or are not seditious libels." 

In conclusion his lordship observed : — ' ' In dealing with 
the question whether the articles were published with the sedi- 
tious intention charged in the indictment, you will fairly con- 
sider the surrounding circumstances, coupled with the state of 
the country and of the public mind when the publication took 
place, for these may be most material in considering the offence. 
For example, if the country was free from political excitement 
and disaffection, was engaged in the peaceful pursuits of com- 
merce and industry, the publication of such articles as have 
been extracted from American papers might be free from danger 
and comparatively innocent, but in a time of political trouble 



J6 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

and commotion, when the country has just emerged from an 
attempt at armed insurrection, and whilst it is still suffering 
from the machinations and overrun by the emissaries of a 
treasonable conspiracy, hatched and operating in a foreign land, 
the systematic publication of articles advocating the views and 
objects of that conspiracy seems to admit but of one interpreta- 
tion. The intentions of men are inferences of reason from 
their actions where the action can flow but from one motive, 
and be the reasonable result of but one intention." 

' ' Now I would invite you to a careful examination of these 
articles. You should deal with them in a broad and candid and 
liberal spirit, and subject them to no narrow and jealous criti- 
cism. But if on the other hand, from their whole scope, you are 
coerced to the conclusion that their object and tendency is to 
foment discontent and disaffection, to excite to tumult and in- 
surrection, to promote the objects of a treasonable conspiracy, 
to bring the administration of justice into disrepute, or to stir 
up the people to hatred of the laws and the constitution, then you 
may, if you think fit, and you ought to find the bills." The 
grand jury having brought in true bills in both cases, the trials 
( ame on in due course. 

In Sullivan's case Lord Fitzgerald, in charging the jury, 
raade the following observations: — " You are here in this trial 
the sole judges of the law and the facts. My duty is to simplify 
the case you have to determine, assist you if I can, and address 
vou solely in the cahn voice of reason. This is a prosecution of 
a very unusual nature. There has not been one of this character 
certainly for the last twenty years. The jury are constituted 
l)ylawthe sole judges to determine every question between the 
Queen and the defendant. I would remind you in the outset 
that there will be four questions for you to apply your atten- 
tion to. The first is a question of fact — Did the defendant 
])ublish the libels ? Upon that there will be no difficulty, for 
it is not a matter of controversy that Mr. Sullivan, the defendant, 
is the proprietor and publisher of the Weekly News, and that 
the several articles and wood-cuts were published in that paper. 
The next question for you to examine into is this — Do these pub- 
lications, whether printed matter or wood-cuts, fairly bear the 
interpretation which the Crown has put upon them by the 



SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. X7 

innuendos ? The next question is one of paramount importance, 
and it is one of which the jury are the sole judges — whether these 
publications are seditious libels ? That question of law and fact 
is entrusted to the jury alone." 

" If you 'come to the conclusion," the learned Judge con- 
tinued, " that the defendant published these articles, that the 
true meaning has been given to them, that they are seditious- 
libels, published with the intention imputed to them, you have 
all the elements which would warrant you in bringing in a 
verdict cf guilty." 

" The man who criticises the conduct of the Government," 
he added, " ought not to impute improper motives, and though 
he may point out that there is bad administration of justice, 
yet he should not use language that would indicate contempt 
of the laws of the land. When a public writer exceeds his limit 
and uses his privilege to create discontent and dissatisfaction 
he becomes guilty of what the law calls sedition.'' 

" Now I would invite your attention to the indictment. 
There are three allegations. It is alleged that the defendant 
intended by these publications and prints to excite hatred or 
contempt of Her Majesty's Government, and the administration 
of the laws ; and further, that these prints were intended to 
create dissatisfaction, to excite hatred and contempt of the 
Government, and to disturb the tranquillity of the realm. 
Without defining sedition further than for the purposes of this 
trial, I have to tell you if you in your honest judgment come 
to the conclusion that these publications, or any of them, are 
calculated and intended to excite hatred of the Government 
and the administration of the laws, or create dissatisfaction, or 
disturb the public peace, then they are seditious libels. I do 
not think I can put the matter plainer than that." 

With regard to the pictorial prints which were charged as 
seditious, the learned Judge remarked : — " It was open to the 
Attorney-General to call intelligent witnesses, and ask them 
what the true meaning of this picture was ; for, after all, the ques- 
tion is not how Mr. Sullivan meant it, but how it would be under- 
stood by an ordinary intelligent individual. It will be for you 
to take into account the letterpress that accompanies this, in 
order to assign the true meaning to it ; but there is not much 

i>, LS . 2 



18 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

difference between the meaning assigned to it by the Crown and 
assigned by the defendant. It is one of those means of deliberate 
and gigantic deception by which the people of this country are 
periodically misled. I call it deliberate and gigantic deception, 
because they were dealing with an acute race — with a people 
amongst whom education is every day spreading further and 
further — a people who, if only allowed to know the truth and 
to form judgments for themselves, are quick-witted and able to 
form judgments upon what is their true and real interest. 

" But we cannot shut our ears to this, that for many years, 
as well as during the present time, the people were not allowed 
to know the. truth. Can any one say that this picture really 
and truly represents the state of the Irish nation when it repre- 
sents Hibernia cast upon the ground, held down by the violent 
hand of England." 

The learned Judge then dealt with the remaining woodcuts 
in detail, and finally with the articles which formed the subject 
of the indictment. In considering these he made the following 
observations :— " I concur with the counsel for the defendant 
that if the law of libel was carried out in the full strictness of its 
letter, it would materially interfere with the freedom of the Press. 
Hence a great deal depends upon the forbearance of Government, 
the discretion of judges, and, above all, on the protection of juries. 
For instance, it is open to the community and to the Press to 
complain of a grievance. Well, the mere assertion of a grievance 
tends to create a discontent, which, in a sense, may be said to 
be seditious. But no jury, if a real grievance were put forward 
and its redress howl fide sought, although the language used 
might be objected to — no jury would find that to be a seditious 
libel." 

"If the article," he added, "had simply been a free 
discussion of these questions, or of the acts of the Government, 
this prosecution would never have taken place. But the 
Attorney-General says that the bounds of criticism have 
been passed." 

"To constitute crime, the criminal intent and the criminal 
act should concur. But every person must frimd facie be taken 
to intend the natural consequences of his own acts. You can- 
not dive into the intentions of a man's heart, save so far as 



SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. 19 

they are indicated by his acts and their natural consequences. 
This rule may at times operate harshly, but public policy 
requires that it should be put in force." 

Finally, in summing up the whole case, the learned Judge 
said : — ' ' With these observations I leave the case in your hands. 
I invite you to deal with the case, which is a grave and important 
case, in a fair, free, and liberal spirit. In dealing with the 
articles you should not pause upon an objectionable sentence 
here, or a strong word there. It is not mere strong language, 
such as ' desecrated Court of justice,' or tall language, or turgid 
language that should influence you. You should, I repeat, 
deal with the articles in a free, fa-ir, and liberal spirit. You 
should recollect that to public political articles great latitude 
is given. Dealing as they do with the public affairs of the day — 
such articles if written in a fair spirit, and bond fide, often result 
in the production of great public good. Therefore I advise and 
recommend you to deal with these publications in a spirit of 
freedom, and not to view them with an eye of narrow criticism." 

"Again I say, you should not look merely to a strong word or 
a strong phrase, but to the whole article. Viewing the whole 
case in a free, bold, manly and generous spirit towards the 
defendant, if you come to the conclusion that the publica- 
tions indicted either are not seditious libels, or were not 
published in the sense imputed to them, you are bound, and 
I ask you in the name of free discussion, to find a verdict for the 
defendant. I need not remind you of the worn-out topic — to 
extend to the defendant the benefit of the doubt. If, on the 
other hand, on the whole spirit and import of these articles, 
you are obliged to come to the conclusion that they are seditious 
libels, and that their necessary consequences are to excite con- 
tempt of Her Majesty's Government, or to bring the administra- 
tion of the law into contempt and impau' its functions — if you 
come to that conclusion, either as to the articles or prints, or 
any of them, then it becomes your duty, honestly and fearless- 
ly, to find a verdict of conviction upon such counts as you 
believe are proved." The defendant was found guilty. 

These were the principles laid down by Lord Fitzgerald 
in his two memorable charges, the main portions of which have 



20 THE LAW OF SEDITIOX. 

been set out above. These are the passages which have been, 
and are likely to be, cited, on either side, at trials for sedition in 
India, and may therefore prove useful for reference. 

In the trial of Pigott, which immediately followed (11 Cox, 
60) and at which Baron Deasy presided, the observations of the 
learned Judge on the limits of public journalism, may also be 
cited with advantage. 

"A public journalist," he said, "must respect the 
existence of the form of Government under which he exer- 
cises those very extensive rights and privileges to which 
I have referred. He must not either covertly or openly devote 
the pages of his journal towards the overthrow of the Govern- 
ment. He must not when a treasonable conspiracy exists in 
this land make his journal ancillary to the treasonable purposes 
of that conspiracy, or supply the members of it with intelligence, 
or devote his journal to encourage them to persevere in that con- 
piracy, or to encourage others who may not be embarked in it 
to become involved in its meshes. He must not spread discon- 
tent in the land or inflame the minds of the people, so that 
they may be more ready to join in the insurrection which 
conspirators are seeking to bring about." 

" You should make every allowance for freedom of dis- 
cussion, make every allowance for excitement and passion ; 
and if, after making all these allowances, you think that 
the limits of fair discussion have been overstepped, and that 
the defendant has devoted his paper to these purposes or any 
of them, and with the intention ascribed to him in the indict- 
ment, it will be your duty, great as your regard may be for the 
liberty of the Press, to pronounce a verdict upon such of the 
counts as you think are sustained by the publications." 

The jury found the defendant guilty. 



CHAPTER III. 

SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. — COMd. 

The second of the two leading cases on this subject, Reg. 
V. Burns, is regarded by some as even more important than the 
first. The learned editors of ' Russell on Crimes ' assert 
{p. 302) that " the present view of the law is best stated in R. v. 
Burns (16 Cox, 355)," and thereafter set out in extenso Justice 
Cave's memorable charge to the jury (pp. 303 — 6), as containing 
probably the most comprehensive summary of the law. It 
will therefore be necessary in the present chapter to refer to it 
in considerable detail, setting out the main portions, or those 
at least which seem to be applicable to trials in this country. 

In this case John Burns, now a member of the Privy Council 
and of the present Cabinet, was, in the year 1886, indicted, along 
with three other persons, for ' ' unlawfully and maliciously utter- 
ing seditious words of and concerning Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment with intent to incite to riot, and, in other counts, with in- 
tent to stir up ill-will between Her Majesty's subjects and for 
conspiring together to effect the said objects." 

The indictment was in respect of certain speeches delivered 
by the four defendants to a large mob of persons, chiefly com- 
posed of unemployed workmen, first in Trafalgar Square and sub- 
sequently in Hyde Park. The speeches were, on each occasion, 
followed by serious disturbances, which were alleged to be the 
immediate result of the inflammatory language employed by the 
defendants. It was in evidence that after the delivery of the 
■speeches in Trafalgar Square a procession was formed of some 
3,000 to 4,000 persons, in which the defendants took part, and 
the crowd moved en masse towards the West-end. On the way 
a demonstration took place in front of the Carlton Club, where 
the mob indulged in stone-throwing and a number of windows 
were broken. Fm'ther disturbances occurred en route to Hyde 
Park, where more speeches were delivered. These again were 
followed by similar disorderly occurrences. 



22 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

It was not suggested by the Crown " tliat the defendants 
desired the disturbances to take place, or that they directly in- 
cited the crowd to cause those disturbances; " but that they "must 
have been aware of, and were answerable for, the natural results 
of the language they used." 

Justice Cave in charging the jury said: — " It is now my 
duty to explain to you the rules of law which ought to govern 
you in considering this case, and also to summarise shortly for 
your benefit the evidence which has been given, so that you may 
have the less difficulty, in applying the principles of the law to 
that evidence. There is undoubtedly no question at all of the 
right of meeting in public, and the right of free discussion is alsO' 
perfectly unlimited, with the exception, of course, that it must 
not be used for the purpose of inciting to a breach of the peace 
or to a violation of the laAv. 

The law upon the question of what is seditious and what 
is not, is to be found stated very clearly in a book by a learned 
judge, who has undoubtedly a greater knowledge of the criminal 
law than any other judge who sits upon the bench, and what he 
has said upon the subject of sedition was submitted to the other 
learned judges, who some time back were engaged with him in 
drafting a Criminal Code, and upon their report the Commis- 
sioners say that his statement of the law appears to them to be 
stated accurately as it exists at present. So that that statement 
has not only the authority of Stephen, J., but also the authority 
of the very learned judges who were associated with him in pre- 
paring the Criminal Code. This is what he says on seditious 
words and libels : ' Every one commits a misdemeanour who 
publishes verbally or otherwise any words, or any document, 
with a seditious intention. If the matter so published consists 
of words spoken the offence is called the speaking of seditious 
words. ' That is what we have to do with to-day. ' If the matter 
so published is contained in anything capable of being a libel, 
the offence is called the publication of a seditious libel.' 

" The next question that one asks is this : There are two ofTences, 
one is the offence of speaking seditious words, and the other offence 
is the publication of a seditious libel. It is obviously impor- 
tant to know what is meant b}' the word sedition, and Stephen, 
J., proceeds in a subsequent article to give a definition of it.'* 



SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. 25. 

The learned Judge here cited Sir James Stephen's definition 
of a ' seditious intention,' which has been set out in the previous 
chapter, and continued : — " He goes on to point out what sort of 
intention is not seditious. It is also important to consider that, 
because there we get alight thrown upon the subject from an- 
other side." After citing the explanation to the foregoing defi- 
nition (see Ch. ii) his lordship added : — " So there he gives in 
these two classes what is, and what is not, sedition. Now, the 
seditious intentions which it is alleged existed in the minds of 
the prisoners in this case are : first, an intention to excite Her 
Majesty's subjects to attempt otherwise than by lawful means 
the alteration of some matter in Church or State by law establish- 
ed ; and, secondly, to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility 
between different classes of Her Majesty's subjects. This is 
necessarily somewhat vague and general, particularly the se- 
cond portion, which says it is a seditious intention, to intend 
to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different 
classes of Her Majesty's subjects. I should rather prefer to say 
that the intention to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility 
between different classes of Her Majesty's subjects may be a se- 
ditious intention according to circumstances, and of those cir- 
cumstances the jury are the judges ; and I put this question to 
the Attorney-General in the course of the case : ' Suppose a man 
were to write a letter to the papers attacking bakers or butchers 
generally with reference to the high prices of bread or meat, 
and imputing to them that they were in a conspiracy to keep 
up the high prices, would that be a seditious libel — being written 
and not spoken V To which the Attorney-General gave me the 
only answer which it was clearly possible to give under the 
circumstances : ' That must depend upon the circumstances.' 
I, sitting here as a judge, cannot go nearer than that. Any 
intention to excite ill-will and hostility between different classes 
of His Majesty's subjects may be a seditious intention ; whether 
in a particular case this is a seditious intention or not, you must 
judge and decide in your own minds, taking into consideration 
the whole of the circumstances of the case." 

It will be observed that promoting class hatred is not includ- 
ed in the offence of sedition in India. It is, however, none the 
less an offence, and punishable under the Penal Code, though 



24 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

not under section 124 A. It must therefore be dealt with here- 
after under the head of Cognate offences. 

" You may not unnaturally say," his lordship continued, 
*' that that is a somewhat vague statement of the law, and ask 
by what principle shall we be governed in deciding when an in- 
tention to excite ill-will and hostility is seditious and when it is 
not. For your guidance, I will read you what was said by Fitz- 
gerald, J., in the case of J^ej. v. Sullivan, which was a prosecu- 
tion for a seditious libel, the only difference between the two 
cases being of course that, while seditious speeches are spoken, 
a seditious libel is written, but in each of them the adjective 
'seditious' occurs, and what is seditious intention in the one case 
will equally be a seditious intention in the other." The learned 
Judge here cited Lord Fitzgerald's well-known definition of 
sedition, which has been set out in the previous chapter, as well 
as the dictum of Sir Michael Foster, and continued : — " That 
points to the nature of the proof between seditious writing and 
words, and also points to a difference in the effect which they 
have, and the extent to which that effect goes, though of course 
in regard to seditious words there may be a very great distinction 
between words uttered to two or three companions in social 
intercourse and words uttered to a large multitude." 

The learned Judge then cited Lord Fitzgerald's concluding 
remarks, in which he summed up the whole case at the trial, 
which have also been set out in the previous chapter, and went 
on to add : — " Now that language was used in reference to a 
seditious libel, but changing the language so as to apply to a 
speech, the principles thus laid down are clearly applicable to 
the case which you have now got before you." 

" If you think that these defendants, from the whole 
matter laid before you, had a seditious intention to incite 
the people to violence, to create public disturbances and dis- 
order, then undoubtedly you ought to find them guilty. If 
from any sinister motive, as, for instance, notoriety, or for 
the purpose of personal gain, they desired to bring the 
people into conflict with the authorities, or to incite them 
tumultuousl)'' and disorderly to damage the property of any 
unoffending citizens, you ought undoubtedly to find them 



SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. 25 

guilty. On the other hand, if you come to the conclusion that 
they were actuated by an honest desire to alleviate the misery 
of the unemployed — if they had a real bond fide desire to 
bring that misery before the public by constitutional and legal 
means, you should not be too swift to mark any hasty or 
ill-considered expression which they might utter in the excite- 
ment of the moment. Some persons are more led on, more 
open to excitement than others, and one of the defendants. 
Burns, even when he was defending himself before you, so 
prone was he to feeling strongly what he does feel, that he could 
not refrain from saying that he was unable to see misery and 
degradation without being moved to strong language and strong 
action. I mention that to you to show you the kind of man he 
is, and for the purpose of seeing, if you come to the conclusion 
that he was honestly endeavouring to call the attention of the 
authorities to this misery and honestly endeavouring to keep 
within the limits of the law and the constitution, that you 
should not be too strong to mark if he made use of an ill- 
considered, or too strong an expression." 

His lordship then dealt with the particular charge in the 
case. " It divides itself," he said, " roughly into two heads. 
There is, first, the charge that they uttered certain words upon 
the occasion of this demonstration, and that is separated into 
nine counts, and then there comes a general charge which 
involves the whole of them, namely, that they agreed together 
before they went to this meeting that they would make speeches 
with the intention of exciting the people to disorder. I am 
unable to agree entirely with the Attorney-General when he says 
that the real charge is that, though these men did not incite or 
contemplate disorder, yet, as it was the natural consequence of 
the words they used, they are responsible for it. In order to 
make out the offence of speaking seditious words there must be a 
criminal intent upon the part of the accused, they must be 
words spoken with a seditious intent ; and although it is a good 
working rule to say that a man must be taken to intend the 
natural consequences of his acts, yet if it is shown from 
other circumstances, that he did not actually intend them, I do 
not see how you can ask a jury to act upon what has then 
become a legal fiction." 



26 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

"I am glad to say," lie continued, " that witli regard to- 
this matter I have the authority again of Stephen, J., who, in 
his ' History of the Criminal Law,' has dealt with this very 
point ; he deals with it in reference to the question of seditious 
libel. Stephen, J., says : ' To make the criminality of an act 
dependent upon the intention with which it is done is ad- 
visable in those cases only in which the intent essential to the 
crime is capable of being clearly defined and readily inferred 
from the facts. Wounding, with intent to do grievous bodily 
harm, breaking into a house with intent to commit a felony, 
abduction with intent to marry or defile, are instances of such 
offences. Even in these cases, however, the introduction of the 
term ' intent ' occasionally led either to a failure of justice or 
to the employment of something approaching to a legal fiction 
in order to avoid it. The maxim that a man intends the natural 
consequences of his acts is usually true, but it may be used as 
a way of saying that because reckless indifference to probable 
consequences is morally as bad as an intention to produce those 
consequences, the two things ought to be called by the same 
name, and this is at least an approach to a legal fiction. It is 
one thing to write with a distinct intention to produce dis- 
turbances, and another to write violently and recklessly matter 
likely to produce disturbances.' Now if you apply that last 
sentence to the speaking of words, of course it is precisely 
applicable to the case now before you. It is one thing to 
speak with the distinct intention to produce disturbances, and 
another thing to speak recklessly and violently of what is 
likely to produce disturbances." 

The doctrine here cited by the learned Judge, as enunciated 
by Sir James Stephen in his 'History,' would seem, at first sight, 
to be in conflict, with what he has laid down in his ' Digest.' 
In the passage cited in the previous chapter from his ' Digest,' 
he lays down the doctrine of intention in the following terms: — 
" In determining whether the intention with which any words 
were spoken, (or) any document was published, was or was 
not seditious, every person must be deemed to intend the conse- 
quences which would naturally follow from his conduct at the 
time and under the circumstances in which he so conducted 
himself." 



SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. 27 

But this again is only a re-statement of the maxim 
enunciated by Lord Tenterden, C. J., in the case of Haire 
V. Wilson (9 B. & C, 643), where he said : — " Every man 
is presumed to intend the natural and ordinary consequences 
of his act. If the tendency of the publication was injurious 
to the plaintiff, the law will assume that the defendant by 
publishing it, intended to produce the injury M'hich it was 
calculated to effect." 

And so also Lord Kenyon, C. J., in R. v. Cuiliell (21 St. 
T ., 641), observed : — " God only knows the hearts of men, 
and we can collect their meaning only from what they do. 
These are fallible modes of arriving at knowledge, but we 
have no better, and we must pronounce men innocent or 
guilt}^ according to this standard." 

The same principle was laid down by Lord Fitzgerald in 
Sullivan's case (see Ch. ii) when he said : — " Every person 
must frimd facie be taken to intend the natural consequences 
of his own acts. You- cannot dive into the intentions of a 
man's heart, save so far as they are indicated by his acts 
and their natural consequences. This rule may at times 
operate harshly, but public policy requires that it should be put 
in force." 

And again in the case of Reij. v. Burdett (4 B. & A., p. 120), 
Justice Best said : — "With respect to whether this was a libel, I 
told the jury that the question whether it was published with the 
intention alleged in the information was peculiarly for their 
consideration ; but I added that this intention was to be collected 
from the paper itself, unless the import of the paper were explain- 
ed by the mode of publication, or any other circumstances. I 
added that if it appeared that the contents of the paper were 
likely to excite sedition and disaffection, the defendant must 
be presumed to intend that which his act was likely to 
produce." 

It will thus be seen that though it may be correct to say — 
" It is one thing to write or speak with a distinct intention to 
produce disturbances, and another to write or speak violently 
and recklessly of what is likely to produce disturbances" — for 
the distinction no doubt exists, and is capable of demonstration ; 
yet this in no wise affects the well-established rule which is cited 



28 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

above, and a presumption will always arise from th.e acts of a 
man or his language, and continue to operate against him until 
it is rebutted. 

It would appear, moreover, from the further observations 
of Justice Cave, that the doctrine enunciated was made subject 
to some reservation, for he goes on to add : — " I must, however, 
notwithstanding what I have said upon that subject, go on to 
tell you that it is not at all necessary to the offence of uttering 
seditious words that an actual riot should follow, that there should 
be an actual disturbance of the public peace ; it is the uttering 
with the intent which is the offence, not the consequences Avhich 
follow, and which have really nothing to do with the of?ence. 
A man cannot escape from the consequences of uttering 
words with intent to excite people to violence solely because 
the persons to whom they are addressed may be too wise or too 
temperate to be seduced into that violence. That has, however, 
no important bearing in this case. If you come to the conclu- 
sion that language w^as used by the defendants or any of them 
upon the occasion of that meeting in Trafalgar. Square, and that 
it was their intention to excite the people to violence, to a breach 
of the law, why then that would undoubtedly be the uttering of 
seditious words. " 

The learned Judge here evidently means that the intention 
is to be gathered from the language used, and he goes on 
to say : — " And I apprehend that the Attorney-General was 
anxious to fortify himself with this, that the actual disturbances 
were the natural consequence of what was said, and perhaps 
for more than one reason. In the first place, the Government 
undoubtedly declined to prosecute on the assumption that 
the defendants had actually incited to these particular disturb- 
ances, and although that, as I have said, is not at all necessary 
or essential to the procuring of a conviction, yet undoubtedly 
that is the moral justification, so to say, the grounds upon which 
the Government do place the action which they take." Here 
the learned Judge seems to indicate very clearly that " actual 
incitement to particular disturbances is by no means essential 
to a conviction." He then goes on to add : — " As something, 
no doubt, may be gathered from the effect which was actually 
produced, there does come a point when one must say, ' This 



SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. 20 

was SO violent and reckless that it is impossible to conceive that 
the man who uttered this did not intend the consequence which 
must ensue from it.' " These observations obviously demon- 
strate the rule that after all 'a man's language is the onlv index 
to his thoughts, his motives, and his intentions. 

Lastly, as to the charge of conspiracy the learned Jud^e 
said : — " Again with reference to conspiracy there is another 
passage of Stephen, J.'s book, where he says — ' If a meeting is 
held, for the purpose of speaking seditious words to those who 
may attend it, those who take part in that design are guilty of 
a seditious conspiracy.' Now in order to have a conspiracy you 
must have an agreement formed beforehand between the parties 
to that conspiracy that they will hold or have a meeting and 
that the words there spoken shall be words of sedition." 

" But, although there may have been no previous con- 
spiracy, yet when people do go to a meeting there are 
circumstances under which a man may be responsible not only 
for what he says, but also for what some one else says. Now 
what are those circumstances ? Stephen, J., says : ' If at a 
meeting lawfully convened seditious words are spoken of such 
a nature as are likely to produce a breach of the peace that 
meeting may become unlawful, and all those who speak the 
words undoubtedly are guilty of uttering seditious words and 
those who do anything to help those who speak to produce 
upon the hearers the natural effect of the words spoken.' 
You must do something more than stand by and say nothing. 
If you express approval of the statements of speakers who 
utter seditious language that equally will do. But there must 
be something of that kind. If one man uses seditious words at a 
meeting, those who stand byand do nothing, although they do not 
reprobate them, are not guilty of uttering the seditious words. 
Those even who make a speech themselves are not guilty of utter- 
ing seditious words unless you can gather from the language they 
use that they are endeavouring to assist the other man in carrying 
out that portion of his speech, and by that course endeavouring 
to assist him in causing his words, which excite to disorder to 
produce their natural effect upon the people." The jury found 
the defendants not guilty on any of the counts. 



30 THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

"It is sedition," says Mr. Odgers (citing Holt) in his 
' Law of Libel,' " to speak or publish of the King any words 
which would be libellous and actionable fer se, if printed and 
published of any other public character. Thus any words will 
be deemed seditious which strike at the King's private life and 
conduct, which impute to him any corrupt or partial views, or 
assign bad motives for his policy, which insinuate that he is a 
tyrant, careless of the welfare of his subjects, or which charge him 
with deliberately favouring or oppressing any individual or class 
of men in distinction to the rest of his subjects." 

" Generally speaking, any words, acts, or writing in respect 
of the public acts or private conduct of the King, which tend 
to vilify or disgrace the King or to lessen him in the esteem 
of his subjects, or any denial of his right to the Crown, even 
in common and unadvised discourse, may be punished as 
sedition : " (Russell.) 

" It is sedition to speak or publish of individual members 
■of the Government words which v/ould be libellous and actionable 
per se, if written and published of any other public character. 
It is also sedition to speak or publish words defamatory of the 
Government collectively, or of their general administration, with 
intent to subvert the law, to produce public disorder, or to 
foment or promote rebellion. Where corrupt or malignant 
motives are attributed to the ministry as a whole, and no parti- 
cular person is libelled, the jury must be satisfied that the author 
"or publisher maliciously and designedly intended to subvert 
our laws and constitution, and to excite rebellion or disorder. 
There must be a criminal intent. But such an intent will, of 
course, be presumed, if the natural and necessary consequence 
of the words employed be ' to excite a contempt of Her Majesty's 
Government, to bring the administration of its laws into 
disrepute, and thus impair their operation, to create disafltection, 
or to disturb the public peace and tranquillity of the realm.'" 
-{Odgers : and see R. v. Collws, 9 C. & P., 456.) 

" The measures of the King and his advisers, and the pro- 
ceedings and policy of his Government, may be criticised within 
due limits without incurring the penalties of sedition. Every 
man has a right to give every public matter a candid, full, and 
free discussion ; but although the public have a right to discuss 



SEDITION AT COMMON LAW. 31 

any grievances they have to complain of, they must not do it 
in a way to excite tumult. This right extends to the Press. 
But the discussion of political measures cannot lawfully be made 
a cloak for an attack upon private character. Libels on persons 
employed in a public capacity may tend to scandalise the Govern, 
ment by reflecting on those who are entrusted with the adminis- 
tration of public affairs, for they not only endanger the public 
peace, as all other libels do, by stirring up the parties immediate- 
ly concerned to acts of revenge, but also have a direct tendency 
to incline the people to faction and sedition " : (Russell.) 

" To say," said Lord Holt, C. T., in the case of B,. v. Tucliin 
(14 St. T., 109.5), " that corrupt officers are appointed to ad- 
minister afiairs is certainly a reflection on the Government. If 
men should not be called to account for possessing the people 
with an ill opinion of the Government, no government can sub- 
sist ; nothing can be worse to any government than to endeavour 
to procure animosities as to the management of it ; this has 
always been looked upon as a crime, and no government can 
be safe unless it be punished." 

And so, in the case of R. v. Cobhett (29 St. T., 1), where 
the libel was directed against the administration of the Irish 
Government and the Lord Lieutenant and Chancellor of 
Ireland, Lord Ellenborough, C. J., said : — " It is no new 
doctrine that if a publication be calculated to alienate the" 
affections of the people by bringing the Government into 
disesteem, whether the expedient be by ridicule or obloquy, the 
person so conducting himself is exposed to the inflictions of 
the law. It is a crime ; it has ever been considered as a crime, 
whether wrapt in one form or another. The case of R. v. 
Tucliin, decided in the time of Lord Chief Justice Holt, has 
removed all ambiguity from this question. 

In reviewing these weighty observations, Mr. Odgers, in 
his ' Law of Libel,' justly remarks that they must be construed 
with reference to the times in which they were made. Lord 
Holt, he says, " clearly was not referring to a quiet change of 
ministry which in no way shakes the throne, or loosens the 
reins of order and government. In 1704 the present system 
of party-government was not in vogue. And even in Lord 



32 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Eilenborougli's time the ministry were still appointed by the 
King, and not by the people. By ' the Government ' both 
judges meant, not so much a particular set of ministers, as 
the political system settled by the constitution, the general 
order and discipline of the realm." 

It will be seen at once that these remarks on the conditions 
of government now prevailing in England would have no appli- 
cation to India, where the system of government is entirely 
different. On the contrary, the political system which obtains ia 
this country, approaches more closely to the conception of 
government attributed to these eminent Judges. This distinc- 
tion was pointed out at the very first trial for sedition ia 
India. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE LAW IN OPERATION— THE FIRST TRIAL. 

This digression into the English Common Law has been 
rendered necessary by two circumstances. The first was the 
assertion by Sir James Stephen at the time he introduced his 
Bill that the new law 'was substantially the same as the law of 
England at that date, though much compressed.' The other 
is the important influence which the English case-law exerted, 
as it was bound to do, on the first trials for sedition in India. 
It was moreover the law which in fact prevailed in the Presi- 
dency towns up to 1870. 

Now the long interval of twenty years which succeeded the 
legislation of 1870, whatever be the cause, was not marked by 
a single trial. The only incident which seems to break the 
monotony of that period was the preventive legislation of 1878, 
known as the Vernacular Press Act, which had but a brief career 
of four years, being repealed in 1882. 

The first State trial for sedition on record is the case of 
Queen-Empress v. Jogendra Chunder Bose (19 Cal. 35), better 
known as the ' Bangobasi case ,' that being the name of the 
newspaper in which the alleged seditious matter appeared. 

It is admitted on all hands that the articles in question 
were the direct outcome of the legislation of 1891, commonly 
known as the " Age of Consent Act." At the trial, which took 
place in the High Court at Calcutta, it was urged on behalf of 
the Crown that " no attempt at a reasonable discussion of the 
' Age of Consent Bill ' was to be found " in the articles charged, 
while the defence on the other hand contended that they " did 
not exceed the bounds of legitimate criticism " of the measure 
in question. To understand the case properly, therefore, it 
will be necessary to review briefly the circumstances which 
attended the passing of that Act. 

Those who have any personal acquaintance with the 
incidents referred to at the trial, or have read the speeches 
delivered in Council at the time, will know that a good deal of 

D, LS ■ 3 



a4 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

public excitement prevailed in Hindu circles in certain parts of 
Bengal. The situation was thus described by one of the 
Members of Council. The Hon'ble Mr. Nugent, speaking on 
the very day the Bill was passed (19th March), said : — " That 
a Bill on so delicate a subject as that dealt with in this measure 
should lead to much agitation and excite considerable oppo- 
sition is inevitable, and it cannot be denied that the pro- 
posed legislation has in many quarters met with a hostile 
reception." But he went on to add, "It is satisfactory, 
however, to find that a large and influential volume of public 
opinion, notably in the Bombay Presidency, is in favour of the 
measure, and that of those persons really competent to judge 
the question on its merits, a majority would appear to support 
the course pursued by the Government. It may, I think, safely 
be assumed that at most, if not all, of what are described as 
* monster meetings ' held to protest against the Bill, nine out 
of ten of those present had but the most vague and nebulous 
notions concerning either the provisions of the Bill or the effects 
it was likely to produce. When once, however, the Bill has 
become law, all agitation will, I anticipate, speedily subside ; 
the baseless clamour regarding religion being endangered will 
rapidly die out ; the beneficial and salutary character of the 
enactment hedged round with safeguards as it now is, will be 
recognised ; and gradually a practice which no right-minded 
man can defend, and every kindly-hearted woman must abhor, 
will become as extinct as is Sati or any other barbarous custom, 
which has already been swept away by the progress of educa- 
tion and civilisation." 

It cannot be denied that a very strong case had been made 
out for the necessity of legislation by the Member in charge of 
this Bill, Sir Andrew Scoble. Memorable speeches had been 
made in support of it by other Members, and notably by Sir 
Griffith Evans, Rao Bahadur Nulkar, and last, but not least, by 
His Excellency Lord Lansdowne, the President of the Council. 

Sir Andrew Scoble after citing the observations of Justice 
Wilson in his memorable charge to the jurj'' at the trial of Hari 
Maiti (18 Cal., 49), on the inadequacy of the law to meet the 
evils complained of, as well as a mass of data collected through 
reliable sources from all parts of the province said : — " There 



THE LAW IN OPERATION — THE FIRST TRIAL. 35 

is no gainsaying this evidence. It establishes the existence 
in Bengal of a horrible practice, condemned alike by the Hindu 
religion and by the commonest feelings of humanity and with 
which the present law is powerless to cope in any adequate 
way. The records of the Criminal Courts are full of cases in 
which child-wives between the ages of ten and twelve have 
been done to death in the exercise of marital rights by their 
husbands." 

After recounting some of these cases he proceeded, " I 
might multiply cases of this kind, which show not only that Hari 
Maiti's case is not exceptional, but that the present law, 
though not absolutely a dead letter, does not go far enough 
to efficiently protect this helpless class of children. No one can 
say that a few months' imprisonment is a sufficient penalty 
for crimes of this description, or that the marital relation ought 
to be allowed to be pleaded in extenuation or justification of 
such outrages on humanity. There is, moreover, much reason 
to fear that comparatively few cases of this class find their way 
into the Criminal Courts, and not many perhaps into the hos- 
pitals. But I would invite the attention of the Council to the 
terrible list sent up by Mrs. Mansell and other lady doctors, of 
■cases which had come under their personal observation, of 
little girls, aged from nine to twelve, who had died, become 
paralysed, or crippled, or been otherwise severely injured, as 
the result of premature cohabitation." 

The Hon'ble Rao Bahadur Nulkar in the course of his 
•elaborate and exhaustive argument in support of the measure, 
alluded to the same overwhelming testimony as follows : — " In 
a petition sent to His Excellency the Viceroy in September 
last, praying that the age of consent be raised to fourteen years, 
fifty lady doctors practising among Native women in India 
have given the harrowing details and cruel deaths among 
thirteen cases of child-wives which came before them within 
a few years' practice. The ages of the girls ranged between 
seven and twelve years. " 

He then proceeded to quote some of the ' ' harrowing 
details ' ' which it is unnecessary to reproduce here, but his 
concluding comments were as follows : — " If all this evidence 
fails to convince the opponents that the evil does exist and 



36 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

requires a more stringent remedy at the hands of the Legis- 
lature to secure adequate protection of child-wives againsu such 
fiendish husbands, we can only pity them for their moral 
depravity." 

Sir Griffith Evans in the course of his forcible speech 
said : — " Looking at the mass of evidence before us it does 
seem impossible to deny that a state of things exists which 
imperatively calls for legislation. Intercourse with immature 
female children is so utterly revolting, so contrary to the first 
principles of civilised society, and such a physical outrage upon 
the poor little children themselves, that I should have thought 
it was beyond the pale of discussion to consider whether it 
should be treated as a vice like drunkenness, or as what it is, a 
heinous crime against these poor little infants. It has been 
clearly established that this crime, this odious practice prevails, 
and prevails very largely. The terms in which the Raja of 
Bhinga has just referred to it show what the real nature of it 
is, and also the abhorrence with which all right-minded people 
must view it. Then what are the consequences of it ? Not 
only is there the physical outrage itself, but it is clearly shown 
that in a very large number of cases serious hurt, and some- 
times even death, are the result to the victims ; in other cases 
injury to their constitution of a lasting and grave character. 
So far then it would seem clear beyond all doubt that some 
legislation is necessary." 

His Excellency Lord Lansdowne, the President, summed up 
the whole case with consummate tact and moderation. In dealing 
with the religious aspect of the question. His Excellency said : — 
" In all cases where there is a conflict between the interests of 
morality and those of religion, the Legislature is bound to distin- 
guish, if it can, between essentials and non-essentials, between 
the great fundamental principles of the religion concerned, and 
the subsidiary beliefs and accretionary dogmas which have acci- 
dentally grown up around them. In the case of the Hindu 
religion such a discrimination is especially needful, and one of 
the first questions which we have to ask ourselves is, assuming 
that the practice with which our proposed legislation will inter- 
fere is a practice supported by religious sanctions, whether 
those sanctions are of first-rate importance and absolutely obli- 



THE LAW IN OPERATION — THE FIRST TRIAL. 37 

gatory, or whether they are of minor importance and binding only 
in a slight degree. Now I venture to affirm that the discussion 
which has taken place has established beyond controversy that 
the particular religious observance which we are urged to 
respect is, in the first place a local observance, and one far from 
being universally recognised by those who profess the Hindu 
faith. It is a practice which is, in the main, peculiar to the 
Province of Bengal, and which is followed only in a portion o£ 
that province, and only by certain classes witKin that portion. 
It will not be contended that devout Hinduism is not to be 
found outside this restricted area, but the Hindus of other parts 
of India do not share the alarm with which this Bill is regarded in 
Bengal. In the next place it is admitted that the religious sanc- 
tions by which the practice is supported are of the weakest kind." 

His Excellency referred to the testimony of eminent 
Hindu scholars, of Maharajas, Chiefs, Judges, and leaders of 
Hindu societ}'- by way of corroboration, and continued : — " I 
feel that the time is not far off when their fellow citizens, without 
exception, will recognize that such men as these, rather than 
they who have so noisily, and so thoughtlessly repeated the 
parrot-cry ' our religion is in danger ' are the true leaders of 
public opinion in this country." 

His Excellency's concluding remarks were as follows : — 
" The necessity of an age-limit being admitted, the only 
question which the Council has to decide is whether our pro- 
posal fixes that limit at the proper point. We contend that 
the point at which we propose to fix it accords at all events more 
closeh^ with the physiological facts than any other. We have 
been pressed to adopt a higher limit, but we desire to keep on 
the safe side. We justify our proposal on the ground that 
the British law would fail to provide adequately for the safety 
of the children of this country if. while it protects them from 
a\\ other kinds of ill-usage, it failed to protect them from a par- 
ticular form of ill-usage infinitely more revolting, and infinitely 
more disastrous in its direct, as well as its remoter results, than 
^ny other form of ill-treatment to which they are liable." 

The Bill was then passed by the Council by a practically 
unanimous vote, amending section 375 of the Penal Code, and the 
age of consent was thereby raised from ten to twelve years. 



38 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

There was reason to hope that better counsels had pre- 
vailed among its opponents, and there were indications of 
a complete subsidence of hostile agitation, as had been in fact 
anticipated. Such were the circumstances attending the passing 
of that important measure, without some knowledge of which 
it would be difficult to follow the drift of the Bangohasi' s: 
criticism. They had moreover been freely alluded to in the 
course of the trial. 

The Bangohasi, of which the four accused were respectively 
the proprietor, editor, manager and printer, was a weekly verna- 
cular newspaper published in Calcutta, and having a large pro- 
vincial circulation. 

The Bill had been passed on the 19th March, 1891, and 
the first of a series of articles appeared in the Bangohasi on the 
28th March, i.e., the following week. The material passages 
in the articles charged as seditious were as follows : — 

" The English ruler is our lord and master, and can inter- 
fere with our religion and usages b}' brute force and European 
civilisation. The Hindu is powerless to resist ; but he is- 
superior to your nation in good morals, in gentle conduct and' 
in good education. Hindu civilisation and the Hindu religion 
are in danger of being destroyed. The Englishman stands- 
revealed in his true colours. He has the rifle and bayonet and 
slanders the Hindu from the might of the gun. How are we 
to conciliate him ? We cannot expect mercy or justice from 
him. Our chief fear is that religion will be destroyed, but the 
Hindu religion will nevertheless remain unshaken. We suffer 
from the ravages of famine, from inundations, from the oppres- 
sive delays of the law courts, from accidents on steamers and 
railways. All these misfortunes have become more prevalent with 
the extension of English rule in India ; but our rulers do not at- 
tempt to remove these troubles or to ameliorate our condi- 
tion. All their compassion is expended in removing the ima- 
ginary grievances of girl- wives and interfering with our customs. 
We should freely vent our real grievances. We are unable 
to rebel, but we are not of those who say it would be improper 
to do so if we could. We have been conquered by brute force, 
but we are superior to the English in ethics and morality, in 
which we have nothing to learn from them. You may crush 



THE LAW IN OPERATION — THE FIRST TRIAL. ^9 

the body but you cannot affect the mind. Others like 
Aurungzebe and Kalapahar have tried before you and failed. 
You should not try and suppress girl-marriage because you 
won at Plassey and Assaye. It is error and presumption on 
your part to attempt to reform our morals." 

At the trial the defence contended that this " did not 
exceed the bounds of legitimate criticism, when allowance was 
made for the difference between European and native methods 
of thought and the conservative character of the paper." It 
was further argued that as the articles " contained no direct 
excitement to rebellion " they were not seditious. 

It was contended on behalf of the Crown that there was 
"no attempt at a reasonable discussion of the Age of Consent Bill 
to be found " in the articles. There was " nothing but 
vituperation and invective." In one of them it was stated that 
" rebellion was not possible." The intention was to bring the 
people into this frame of mind — " We would rebel if we could, " 
which was " inconsistent with loyalty to Government." " The 
intention of the articles in referring to famines and high prices, 
and charging the Government with persecuting the Hindu 
religion, " was to make the people " discontented and dis- 
satisfied." It was " always dangerous to excite the religious 
feelings of the people, and when the Government is compared 
to the Emperor Aurungzebe, one of the most persistent perse- 
cutors of the Hindu religion, and to Kalapahar, whose name 
was held in the greatest abhorrence by Hindus, surely the public 
peace is imperilled. " 

It is to be regretted that the comments of Sir C. Petheram, 
C. J., on these articles have been omitted from the report of 
his charge to the jury, but doubtless he referred to the argu- 
ments advanced on both sides. The leading English authorities 
had been freely cited during the trial, in support of either 
view, and their influence is distinctly traceable in his lordship's 
charge. After reading the section as it then stood (see CJi. I) 
to the jury, he proceeded to expound its meaning. 

After disposing of the contention advanced by the defence 
that the word " disaffection " meant simply disapprobation, 
as clearly unsustainable, his lordship proceeded : — " Disaffection 
means a feeling contrary to affection, in other words dislike or 



40 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

, hatred. If a person uses either spoken or written words 
calculated to create in the minds of the persons to whom they 

■ are addressed a disposition not to obey the lawful authority 
of the Government, or to subvert or resist that authority, if 

'. and when occasion should arise, and if he does so with the 
intention of creating such a disposition in his hearers or readers, 
he will be guilty of the offence of attempting to excite dis- 
affection within the meaning of the section, though no distur- 
bance is brought about by his words, or any feeling of disaffec- 
tion in fact produced by them. It is sufficient for the purposes 

I of the section that the words used are calculated to excite 

' feelings of ill-will against the Government, and to hold it up to 
the hatred and contempt of the people, and that they were used 
with the intention to create such feeling." 

It will be observed that the expressions employed in the 
last sentence are clearly imported from the English case-law, 
and, as they were the direct cause of further legislation in 
1898, the matter is worthy of note. This interpretation of the 
section was subsequently cited with approval by the High 
Courts of Bombay and Allahabad. 

His lordship's further directions to the jury for tlie 
construction of the articles in question are also of much value, 
and may be taken as a guide for the construction of seditious 
matter generally. 

" You will have to bear in mind," he said, " the class of 
paper which is being prosecuted, and the class of people among 
whom it circulated, taking into consideration the articles which 
have been made the subject of the indictment, and the others 
which have been put in during the course of the trial. Those 
articles are not addressed to the lowest or most ignorant mass 
of the people. They are addressed to people of the respectable 
middle class, who can read and understand their meaning — more 
or less the same class as the writers. You will have to consider 
not only the intent of the person who wrote and disseminated 
the articles among the class named, but the pr oba ble effect 
of the language indulged in. Then you will have to consider 
the relations between the Government and the people, and 
having considered the peculiar position of the Government and 
the consequence to it of any well-organised disaffection, you 



THE LAW IN OPERATION — THE FIRST TRIAL. 41 

will have to decide whether there is an attempt or not to 
■disseminate matter with the intention of exciting the feelings 
of the people till they become disaffected. " 

" British India, " his lordship continued, " is part of the 
British Empire, and is governed like other parts of the Empire 
by persons to whom the power is delegated for that purpose. 
There is a great difference between dealing with Government 
in that sense and dealing with any particular administration- 
Were these articles intended to excite feelings of enmity against 
the Government, or on the other hand, were they merely 
expressing, though in strong language, disapprobation of certain 
Government measures ? You will bear in mind that the 
question you have to decide has reference to the intention ', 
and, in fact the crime consists of the intention, for a man 
might lawfully do the act without the intention. The evidence 
/ of intention can only be gathered from the articles. The ultimate 
object of the writer may be one thing, but if, in attaining that 
object, he uses as the means the exciting of disaffection against 
the Government, then he would be guilty under section 124A. 
If you think that these people, with the object of procuring the 
repeal of the Age of Consent Act, or of increasing the sale of their 
paper, disseminated these articles intending to excite feelings of 
enmity, you will be bound to find a verdict of guilty. As to 
the evidence of intent, the articles are the only evidence." 

As the jury were unable to return a unanimous verdict, 
they were discharged, and the case was set down for retrial. 
The accused however in the meanwhile tendered an apology, 
and the proceeding was dropped. Thus ended the famous 
Bangobasi case. 



CHAPTER V. 

SOME NOTABLE TRIALS. 

A PERIOD of six years elapsed before another prosecution 
was instituted for sedition, but in 1897 three notable trials took 
place. Two of these were held in Bombay and the third at 
Allahabad, while all of them had a direct bearing on the legislation 
of 1898. The first in priority of time, if not in importance, was 
the case of Queen- Em press v. Bal Gayigadhar Tilah (22 Bom. 112), 
commonly known as ' Tilak's case.' This trial, which ended in 
a conviction, had the distinction of passing through three stages. 
There was the trial in the High Court, then the application for 
leave to appeal to the Privy Council, and finally the application 
before the Privy Council itself, where the accused had for his 
counsel the present Prime Minister and othei* eminent barristers. 
The trial in the High Court was before Justice Strachey, whose 
celebrated charge to the jury, though repeatedly attacked for 
misdirection, was ultimately approved and endorsed by the Privy 
Council. 

It is an exhaustive exposition of the law, dealing as well 
with a great variety of questions incidental to such trials, and 
may be regarded as a compendium both of the law and the prac- 
tice which pertains to sedition. It will be necessary, therefore, 
to refer to this charge very frequently as an authority on many 
points, but for the present it will suffice to consider it only in 
its relation to the legislation of the following year, on which 
it exercised an important influence. 

The facts established at the trial were as follows: Tilak 
was the proprietor, editor, and publisher of a weekly vernacular 
newspaper called the Kesari, published at Poona, and having 
a large circulation in the province, with a list of six or seven 
thousand subscribers. His co-accused was the acting man- 
ager. Tilak had some ten years before signed a declaration as 
publisher under Act XXV of 1867 (see Appx.), which rendered 
him primi facie liable, as was pointed out to the jury, for the 



SOME ROTABLE TRIALS. 43 

publication of every article, and in fact of " every part of any 
paper bearing a name corresponding to that mentioned in 
the declaration." This was not disputed, nor indeed was any 
attempt made to shirk responsibility in respect of the articles in 
question. 

The seditious matter charged was contained in two differ- 
ent series of publications, which appeared in the issue of 
the L5th June 1897. The first was a highly metaphorical and 
barely intelligible rhapsody, partly in verse, entitled " Shivajis 
Utterances.'" The other purported to be a report of the pro- 
ceedings at the Shivaji Coronation Festival, with a summary 
of the speeches delivered at the celebration of the 12th June, 
including one from Tilak himself, who was the President. 

Among the remarkable utterances attributed to the heroic 
Shivaji, on his awakening from a sleep of centuries to view the- 
desolation of his native land, were the following: — " By anni- 
hilating the wicked I lightened the great weight on the 
terraqueous globe. I delivered the country by establishing 
' Swarajya' (independence), and by saving religion. I betook 
myself to heaven to shake off the exhaustion which had come 
upon me. I was asleep ; why then did you, my darlings, awaken 
me 1 I had planted upon this soil the virtues that may be 
likened to the Kalpavriksha, of sublime policy, based on a 
strong foundation, valour in the battlefield like that of Kama, 
patriotism, genuine dauntlessness, and unity, the best of all. 
Perhaps you now wish to show me the fruits of these. Alack ! 
AMiat is this ? I see a fort has crumbled down. Through this 
misfortune I get a broken stone to sit upon. "Why does not my 
heart break like that this day ? Alas ! alas ! I now see with 
my own eyes the ruin of my country. Those forts of mine, to 
build which I expended money like rain, to acquire which fresh 
fiery blood was spilled, from which I sallied forth roaring like 
a lion through the ravines, have crumbled down. What a deso- 
lation is this ! Foreigners are dragging out Lakshmi (affluence) 
violently by the hand (or by taxation), by means of persecution. 
Along with her plenty has fled, and after that health also. This 
wicked Akabaya stalks with famine through the whole country. 
Relentless death moves about spreading epidemics of dis- 
eases." 



•44 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Then follows a wild metrical rhapsody full of covert allu- 
sions to the tribulations of the people, the miseries of toil and 
hunger, the ruthless slaughter of cows, the brutal treatment 
of women, and the killing of natives on trivial pretexts. ' ' How 
■do the white men escape by urging these meaningless pleas ? 
This great injustice seems to prevail in these days in the tribu- 
nals of justice. Could any man have dared to cast an improper 
glance at the wife of another, a thousand sharp swords would 
have leapt out of their scabbards instantly. Now however op- 
portunities are availed of in railway carriages, and women are 
dragged by the hand. You eunuchs ! How do you brook 
this ? " 

This terrible picture of India under British rule concludes 
with the following peroration. " Give my compliments to 
my good friends, your rulers, over whose vast dominions the 
sun never sets. Tell them ' How have you forgotten that old 
way of yours, when with scales in hand you used to sell your 
goods in your warehouses ! ' As my expeditions in that direction 
were frequent, it was at that time possible to drive you back to 
your own country. The Hindus, however, being magnanimous 
by nature I protected you. Have you not been laid under deep 
obligations ? Make then your subjects, who are my own chil- 
dren, happy. It will be good for your reputation if you show 
your gratitude" now by discharging this debt." The sign of 
a Bhawani sword was affixed to the end of this. 

The second extract charged as seditious consisted of a report 
of various lectures, discourses, and speeches delivered in celebra- 
tion of the great Shivaji, who was freely compared by the speakers 
with other historical personages, such as Csesar, Napoleon, Maz- 
. zini, Clive, and Hastings, though much to the disadvantage of 
the latter. One learned Professor devoted his lecture specially 
to the justification of Shivaji for the ' Killing of Afzul Khan,' 
at the conclusion of which he pointed the following moral — 
' ' Every Hindu, every Maratha, to whatever party he may 
belong, must rejoice at this Shivaji festival. We all are striving 
to regain our lost independence, and this terrible load is to be 
uplifted by us all in combination. It will never be proper to 
place obstacles in the way of any person, who, with a true mind, 
follows the path of uplifting this burden in the manner he deems 



SOME NOTABLE TRIALS. 45 

fit. Our mutual dissensions impede our progress greatly. If 
any one be crushing down the country from above, cut him off ; 
but do not put impediments in the way of others. All occasions 
like the present festival, which tend to unite the whole country, 
must be welcome." 

Another Professor following in the same strain said : — 
"If no one blames Napoleon for committing two thousand 
murders in Europe, if Csesar is considered merciful, though 
he needlessly committed slaughter in Gaul many a time, 
why should so virulent an attack be made on Shri Shivaji 
Maharaja for killing one or two persons ? The people who took 
part in the French revolution denied that they committed mur- 
ders, and maintained that they were only removing thorns from 
their path. Why should not the same principle be made ap- 
plicable to Maharashtra " {i.e., the Mahratta country) ? 

Whatever other speakers may have lacked in animation 
and vigour was amply compensated by the President himself, 
who brought the meeting to a close. The following are some 
passages from his speech — " If thieves enter our house, and we 
have not strength in our wrists to drive them out, we should 
without hesitation shut them up and burn them alive. God 
has not conferred upon the Mlenchhas (foreigners) the grant 
inscribed on copperplate of the Kingdom of Hindustan. The 
Maharaja strove to drive them away from the land of his birth ; 
he did not thereby commit the sin of coveting what belonged to 
others. Do not circumscribe your vision like a frog in a well. 
Get out of the Penal Code, enter into the extremely high atmos- 
phere of the Shrimat Bhagavatgita, and consider the actions of 
great men." 

In commenting on these extracts from the Kesari it was 
contended, on behalf of the Crown, that, though ' ' there was no- 
thing necessarily disloyal in celebrating the anniversary of Shivaji, 
who was unquestionably a great and distinguished man, advan- 
tage had been taken of the celebration to use language with re- 
ference to the British Government which was intended to excite 
disafEection," and to incite its readers "to follow the example 
of Shivaji and overthrow British rule." One of the articles 
" contained a clear attempt to justify political assassination," 
and it was a significant fact, though no connection could be ac- 



46 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

tually traced, that "within a week of their publication Mr. Ayerst 
and Mr. Rand had been murdered at Poona." It was also con- 
tended that a comparison had been drawn " beltween the condi- 
tion of the people under Shiva ji and under British rule 
■altogether unfavourable to the latter," and that this was done 
" for the purpose of exciting disaffection." 

For the defence it was argued that " the articles describing 
the sufferings of the people were quite consistent with loyalty. 
They no doubt set forth grievances, but it was not seditious to 
do that." " The articles on the Jubilee showed a genuine loy- 
alty." " No doubt there were articles in praise of Sbivaji," 
but they " only expressed a general admiration for him as a man 
of extraordinary power and talent ; " and further that " the 
object of the accused was clearly only to create a national senti- 
ment, just as the Scotch, Welsh and Irish people by their national 
■celebrations endeavour to keep alive and foster a national spirit." 
There was no suggestion of " overthrowing the British Govern- 
ment." 

It was further sought to construe the section by reference 
to the speech of Sir James Stephen in Council, on the passing 
of the Bill in 1870, as had been done in the Bangohasi 
• case, but this was disallowed by the Judge on the authority of 
the Privy Council ruling in the case of The Administrator- 
General of Bengal v. Premlal (22 I. A., 107). Counsel also 
referred to the charge of Cave, J., in Reg. v. Burns, and of 
"Fitzgerald, J., in Reg. v. Sullivan (see Chs. ii — in). 

His lordship in charging the jury explained first the indivi- 
dual responsibility of each of the accused, and then proceeded to 
expound the law as follows : — " In the first place, in con- 
struing the section, I do not propose to discuss the English 
law of seditious libel, though I have most fully considered 
the cases to which counsel has referred, and the writings of 
Sir James Stephen and others on the subject. I believe that 
the explanation which I shall give you is not in any way in- 
consistent with the best English authorities ; but in England 
the ofience of seditious libel is not a statutory ofEence defined 
by Act of Parliament, but a common law misdemeanour ela- 
borated by the decisions of Judges. In this country the law 



SOME NOTABLE TRIALS. 47 

to be applied is the Penal Code. I will now ask you to look 
at the section and the way it is worded." 

His lordship thereupon read the section as it then stood (see 
€h. i), and continued : — " You will observe that the section con- 
sists of two parts : first a general clause, and then an explanation. 
The object of the explanation is a negative one, to show that 
•certain acts which might otherwise be regarded as exciting or 
Attempting to excite disafiection are not to be so regarded. 
We must, therefore, first consider the first or general clause 
of the section by itself, and then see how far the explanation 
■qualifies it. The offence as defined by the first clause is excit- 
ing or attempting to excite feelings of disaffection to the 
Oovernment. What are ' feelings of disaffection ? ' It means 
hatred, enmity, dislike, hostility, contempt, and every form of 
ill-will to the Government. ' Disloyalty ' is perhaj^s the best 
general term, comprehending every possible form of bad 
feeling to the Government. That is what the law means by the 
disaffection which a man must not excite or attempt to excite ; 
he must not make or try to make others feel enmity of any 
kind towards the Government." He subsequently added, " The 
word ■ disaffection ' covers, in my opinion, all those terms." 

"You will observe," he continued, " that the amount or 
intensity of the disaffection is absolutely immaterial except per- 
haps in dealing with the question of punishment : if a man ex- 
cites or attempts to excite feelings of disaffection, great or 
small, he is guilty under the section. In the next place it 
is absolutely immaterial whether any feelings of disaffection 
have been excited or not by the publication in question. 
You will observe that the section places on absolutely the 
same footing the successful exciting of feelings of disaffection, 
And the unsuccessful attempt to excite them, so that if you 
find that either of the prisoners has tried to excite such feelings 
in others, you must convict him even if there is nothing to 
show that he succeeded." 

"Again," he added, "it is important that you should 
fully realise another point. It is not the exciting or attempt- 
ing to excite mutiny or rebellion, or any sort of actual 
•disturbance, great or small. Whether any disturbance or out- 
break was caused by these articles is absolutely immaterial. 



18 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

I am aware that some distinguislied persons have thought 
that there can be no offence against the section unless the 
accused either counsels or suggests rebellion or forcible resist- 
ance to the Government. In my opinion, that view is ab- 
solutely opposed to the express words of the section itself, 
which as plainly as possible makes the exciting or attempting 
to excite certain feelings, and not the inducing or attempting 
to induce to any course of action, such as rebellion or forcible 
resistance, the test of guilt. I can only account for such a 
view by attributing it to a complete misreading of the explana- 
tion attached to the section, and to a mis-application of it 
beyond its true scope." 

In dealing with the explanation in the latter portion of the 
section his lordship said : — ' ' Its object is to protect from the 
condemnation pronounced by the first clause certain acts which 
it distinguishes from the disloyal attempts which the first clause 
deals with. The thing protected by the explanation is 'the 
makinc of comments on the measures of the Government' with 
a certain intention. This shows that the explanation has a 
strictlv defined and limited scope." "It does not apply to 
any writing which consists not merely of comments upon 
Government measures, but of attacks upon the Government 
itself, its existence, its essential characteristics, its motives, or 
its feelings towards the people." 

" A man may criticise or comment on any measure or act of 
the Government, whether legislative or executive, and freely 
express his opinion upon it. He may express the strongest 
condemnation of such measures and he may do so severely, 
and even unreasonably, perversely and unfairly. So long as he 
confines himself to that he will be protected by the explana- 
tion. But if he goes beyond that, and, whether in the course 
of comments upon measures or not, holds up the Government 
itself to the hatred or contempt of his readers — as, for instailce, 
by attributing to it every sort of evil and misfortune suffered 
by the people, or dwelling adversely on its foreign origin 
and character, or imputing to it base motives, or accusing it 
of hostility or indifference to the welfare of the people — then 
he is guilty under the section, and the explanation will not 
save him." 



SOME NOTABLE TRIALS. 49 

la construing the concluding terms of this clause, which 
have since been altered, his lordship alluded to their very 
apparent liability to misconstruction as follows : — ' ' I believe 
that it is an inaccurate reading of this part of the explanation, 
a too exclusive attention to the expressions about obedience 
and resistance, and an insufficient attention to other expres- 
sions equally important, which has caused some people to mis- 
understand the whole section, and to imagine that no one can 
be convicted under it, even if he assails the Government itself 
and not merely Government measures, unless he counsels or 
suggests rebellion or forcible resistance." 

In view of these significant remarks the obvious necessity 
of importing plainer language into the law was at once recog- 
nised, and legislation speedily followed. 

In dealing with the extracts from the Kesari his lordship 
said : "' You will thus see that the whole question is one of in- 
tention of the accused in publishing these articles." " But 
you may ask ' how can we tell whether his intention was simply 
to publish a historical discussion about Shivaji and Afzul Khan, 
or whether it was to stir up, under that guise, hatred against 
the Government ? ' You must gather the intention as best you 
can from the language of the articles ; and you may also take 
into consideration, under certain conditions, the other articles 
that have been put in evidence. But the first and most import- 
ant index of the intention of the writer or publisher of a news- 
paper article is the language of the article itself. What is the 
intention which the articles themselves convey to your minds ? 
In considering this, you must first ask yourselves what would be 
the natural and probable effect of reading such articles in 
the minds of the readers of the Kesari, to whom they were 
addressed ? Would the feeling produced be one of hatred to 
the Government, or would it be simply one of interest in a poem 
and a historical discussion about Shivaji and Afzul Khan, and 
so forth ? " 

His lordship continued : — " But in the next place, in 
judging of the intention of the accused, you must be guided not 
only by your estimate of the effect of the articles upon the minds, 
of their readers, but also by your common sense, your knowledge 
of the world, your understanding of the meaning of words, and 

D, LS 4 



50 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

your experience of the way in which a man writes when he is 
animated by a particular feeling." 

" It may not be easy to express the difierence in words ; 
but the difference in tone and spirit and general drift between 
a writer who is trying to stir up ill-will and one who is not, is 
generally unmistakable, whether the writing is a private letter, 
or a leading article, or a poem, or the report of a discussion. 
You can form a pretty accurate notion of what a man is driving 
at, or what he wants to convey, from a perusal of the writing, 
and can generally tell whether the writing is inspired by good- 
will or is meant to create ill-will. It is not very difficult to dis- 
tinguish between the language of hostility and the language of 
loyalty and good- will, or of criticism and comment." 

Such are the main principles of the law of sedition as laid 
down by Justice Strachey in his charge to the jury in Tilak's 
case. It will be necessary to refer . to it again as an authority 
on many incidental questions. This charge derives a special 
importance from the fact that it came before the Privy Council 
and was considered by Lords Halsbury, Hobhouse, and Davey, 
and Sir Richard Couch. The Lord Chancellor in delivering 
judgment said : — " Their Lordships are of opinion, taking a view 
of the whole of the summing-up, which is of very great length* 
that there is nothing in that summing-up which calls upon them 
to indicate any dissent from it or any necessity to correct what 
is therein contained." 

It was moreover cited at great length and approved by a Full 
Bench of the Allahabad High Court, and was mainly instrumental 
in bringing about the legislative changes that followed. 

Tilak was found guilty by a majority of six to three, and 
sentenced to eighteen months' rigorous imprisonment. 



CHAPTER VI. 

SOME NOTABLE TRIALS — COntd. 

The next trial of note also took place in Bombay, and about 
the same time as Tilak's case. ' It came up on appeal to the High 
Court a few months later and was heard by a Full Bench. It is 
the case of Queen-Empress v. Ramchandra Narayan and another 
(22 Bom. 152), and the decision is of the highest value as afford- 
ing not only the interpretations of the learned Judges as to the 
law of sedition, but also their views on its proper application, 
and the measure of punishment to be awarded for the crime. 
The first accused was the editor, and the second the proprietor, 
and publisher of a newspaper called the Pratod, which was print- 
ed and published at Islampur in the Satara district. The 
appellants had been convicted by the Sessions Judge of Satara 
and sentenced respectively to transportation for life and for seven 
years. 

The article charged as seditious appeared in the issue of 
the 17th May 1897, and was as follows : — 

" Preparations for becoming Independent.^' 
' ' Canada is a country in North America under the British 
rule, the people of which have now become intolerant of their 
subjection to England. Though they are subject to the British 
people, they are not efieminate like the people of India. It is 
not their hard lot to starve themselves for filling the purse of 
Englishmen: They are not obliged to pay a pie to England. 
Their income from land-revenue and taxes are expended for 
their own benefit. They enact their own laws independently, 
and appoint their own ofi&cers, except one or two who are sent 
from England. Of even this nominal dependence they have 
become impatient, and are now busy making efforts to throw it 
off. It is natural for them to envy their neighbours, who, 
after casting off their English nationality, and assuming the 
designation of Americans, are now enjoying the blessings of a 
free nation. They have appointed a committee to frame an 
independent constitution for themselves. This committee 



52 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

has issued a notification of their aims, copies of which 
have been distributed even in India. In this notification they 
have clearly stated their intention of throwing off the English 
yoke, and establishing a Government of their own. Like us, 
they are not men given to prattling, but can act up to their word. 
There is also strong unity amongst them. Spirited men show 
by their actions what stuff they are made of. There are no peo- 
ple on earth who are so effeminate and helpless as those of India. 
We have become so callous and shameless that we do not feel 
humiliation, while we are laughed at by all nations for losing 
such a vast and gold-like country as India. What manliness 
we can exhibit in such a condition is self-evident." 

Two other articles were put in evidence to prove animus. 
The arguments of Counsel are unfortunately not reported. The 
comments of Sir C. Farran, C. J., on the article in question, 
however, are as follows : — "It opens with an untruthful represen- 
tation of the aims and wishes of the Canadian subjects of 
Her Majesty." " Having started with this misleading account 
of the position of the Canadians, their aims and wishes, he pro- 
ceeds to contrast their political position with that of Her Ma- 
jesty's Indian subjects, greatly to the prejudice of the latter. 
The writer then goes on to address his readers. He informs them 
that they once possessed a vast and gold-like country — India — and 
assures them that they are laughed at by all nations for having 
lost it. He upbraids them for their effeminacy and want of 
spirit, and urges them to action : ' Spirited men show by their 
actions what stuff they are made of. ' He ends with this enig- 
matic passage : ' How we can exhibit manliness in such a condi- 
tion is self-evident.' The article as a whole has, J think, the 
object of making its readers impatient of their allegiance to a 
foreign Sovereign, and creating in them the desire of casting off 
their dependence upon England — in other words, of exciting 
disaffection to the Government established by law in British 
India." 

Justice Parsons, concurring, expressed his views on the article 
thus : — " Under the false representation of what the Canadians 
were about to do, it chides the people of India for their effemin- 
acy and want of spirit, and exhorts them to exhibit some manli- 
ness, in order to cast off their subjection to the English rule, to 



SOME NOTABLE TRIALS. 53 

establish a Government of their own, and to become independent. 
In veiled language, but in no uncertain tone, it attempts to excite 
the readers to subvert the Government, and replace it by 
another." 

Justice Ranade, commenting on the same article, said : — 
*' Its evident animus was to excite a feeling of aversion and 
hatred. It was not directed SfS an attack against any particular 
act or measure of Government or its ofl&cers, but it appears to 
be the outcome of a general sense of vague dissatisfaction with 
the existing political constitution and order. As a statement of 
well-known contemporary facts, it is not true to state that 
Canada is desirous of throwing off the English connection. An 
imaginary ideal of independence is held up for imitation, and the 
people of this country are blamed for their apathy in the matter, 
and scornfully disparaged for their want of spirit. It is quite clear, 
therefore, that the words are calculated to create the feeling 
which the law reprobates and seeks to punish. " 

These observations are of the highest importance as 
instances of judicial criticism on concrete examples of 
seditious matter, and may furnish a guide for the interpretation 
of similar material. It is, however, the judicial interpretation 
of the law as it then stood, prior to its alteration, that forms 
perhaps the most important part of this Full Bench decision. 

Sir C. Farran, C. J., after citing the section (see Ch. i) 
observed : — " Neither the section nor the explanation, however, 
defines the term ' disaffection,' nor is it defined in other parts of 
the Code." His lordship then proceeded to determine its mean- 
ing. Referring to Murray's Dictionary he found the special 
signification of the word to be — " Political alienation or discon- 
tent, a spirit of disloyalty to the Government or existing author- 
ity," and then proceeded — " An attempt to excite feelings of dis- 
affection to the Government is equivalent to an attempt to produce 
hatred of Government as established by law, to excite political 
discontent, and alienate the people from their allegiance." 

" This," he added, " is an offence under English law. In Ste- 
phen's Criminal Law the publication of a libel with seditious intent 
is classed as a misdemeanour, and seditious intention is thus 
defined : ' A seditious intention is an intention to bring into hatred 
or contempt, or to excite disaffection against the person of Her 



54 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Majesty, her heirs or successors, or the Government and constitu- 
tion of the United Kingdom as by law established, or to raise 
discontent or disaffection amongst Her Majesty's subjects' (see 
Ch. ii). I quote the passage as conveniently summarising the 
English law. It is, I think, fully supported by the rulings of the 
English Judges and all the recognised text-books on criminal 
law." 

" Turning to the explanation," he continued, " we find 
that disapprobation of the measures of Government is not dis- 
affection, provided that it is of such a nature as to be compatible 
with a disposition to obey Government and to support its lawful 
authority against attempts to resist or subvert it. The meaning 
of that passage appears to me to be that a loyal subject who dis- 
approves Government measures is not to be deemed disloyal 
or disaffected on that account if, notwithstanding his disappro- 
bation of such measures, he is ready to obey and support Govern- 
ment. If he is at heart loyal, he is not disaffected merely 
because he disapproves certain measures of Government. On the 
other hand "he may be a rebel at heart, though for the time being 
prepared to obey and support Government. It consequently 
follows that the publication of a libel exciting to disaffection 
against Government itself — the constitution established by law — 
may be an offence, though the libel may insist on the desirability 
or expediency of obeying and supporting Government." 

It would seem to follow from his lordship's remarks that a 
man might be clearly guilty of exciting disaffection and yet have 
escaped through the meshes of the explanation by the method 
indicated. If this was so the necessity for altering it is abund- 
antly clear. His lordship added — " The ordinary meaning of 
the term ' disaffection ' in the main portion of the section is not, I 
think, varied by the explanation." 

Justice Parsons' interpretation of the term ' disaffection '^ 
is also important. " It must be taken," he said, " to be em- 
ployed in its special sense as signifying political alienation or 
discontent, that is to say, a feeling of disloyalty to the Government 
or existing power, which tends to a disposition not to obey, but 
to resist and attempt to subvert that Government or power. 
Its meaning thus exactly corresponds to the almost, if not quite, 
universally accepted meaning of its adjective * disaffected.' To 



SOME NOTABLE TRIALS. 55 

make or attempt to make a person disaffected, that is to 
excite or attempt to excite in him a feeling of disloyalty to 
Government, or to excite or attempt to excite in his mind a dis- 
position to disobey, to resist the authority of, or to subvert the 
existing Government, is the act under this section declared an 
offence." 

Justice Ranade's definition of the same term is a model of 
precision and apt phraseolog5^ After an elaborate inquiry into 
the English law of sedition, he said : — "Disaffection, as thus 
judicially paraphrased, is a positive political distemper, and not 
a mere absence or negation of love or good-will. It is a positive 
feeling of aversion which is akin to ' disloyalty,' a defiant in- 
subordination of authority, or when it is not defiant, it secretly 
seeks to alienate the people, and weaken the bond of allegiance, 
and prepossesses the minds of the people with avowed or secret 
animosity to Government, a feeling which tends to bring the 
Government into hatred or contempt by imputing base or corrupt 
motives to it, make^ men indisposed to obey or support the 
laws of the realm, and promotes discontent and public disorder." 

The convictions of both the accused were confirmed, but the 
sentences, which were found to be out of all proportion to the 
gravity of the offence, were reduced to one year's rigorous and 
three months' simple imprisonment. The reasons for this were 
specifically set out by the Chief Justice, and will be referred 
to hereafter (see Ch. xi). 

The last of the three notable trials of the year 1897 took 
place at Allahabad. This was the case of Queen-Empress v. 
Amba Prasad (20 All. 5-5), which came up on appeal before a 
Full Bench of the High Court on the 14th December of that. year. 
The report of the case unfortunately contains no statement of 
the facts, no arguments of Counsel, and no indication of the 
nature of the matter charged as seditious. The only facts 
available are such as can be gathered from the judgment of the 
Full Bench, which was delivered by Sir John Edge, C. J. 

It appears from this that the accused Amba Prasad, a Hindu 
Kayesth, was a native of Moradabad, and" that he was the pro- 
prietor, editor, and publisher of a newspaper called the Jami-ul- 
TJlam. The paper was published in Moradabad, and, as its name 
would indicate, had its chief circulation among Mahomedans. 



56 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

The article in question which would seem to have been of a grossly 
seditious character, had appeared in the issue of the l-ith July. 
At his trial before the Sessions Judge of Moradabad the accused 
pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to eighteen months' rigorous 
imprisonment. Against this sentence he appealed to the High 
Court. 

Their lordships dismissed the appeal in the following terms : — 
" In the case before us Amba Prasad has pleaded guilty to an 
attempt, by the publication of the article in question, to excite 
feelings of disaffection to the Government established by law in 
British India. He was well advised to plead guilty, as on an 
examination of that article the only possible defence open to him 
was that of insanity. His counsel before us could not suggest 
that there was the slightest justification or excuse for the gross 
and libellous charges against the Grovernment contained in the 
article. Amba Prasad, in publishing that article, could have had 
but one object in view, and that was to excite amongst Her 
Majesty's Indian subjects feelings of disaffection, disloyalty 
to the Government established by law in British India. The 
particular article, taken in conjunction with other articles pub- 
lished in his newspaper, shows that his object was to excite not 
merely passive disaffection, which in itself is an offence, within 
section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (see Ch. i), but active dis- 
loyalty and rebellion amongst his Muhammadan fellow-subjects. 
The criminal offence which Amba Prasad committed is an exceed- 
ingly grave one. That offence he committed regardless of the 
ruin, misery, and punishment which would have fallen on any 
of his fellow-countrymen who might have been so ignorant as 
to believe that the statements which he published were true, 
and who acting on such belief might have entered upon a course 
of active disloyalty to the Government. Amba Prasad is not a 
Muhammadan; he is a Kayesth." "Amba Prosad alleges in 
his grounds of appeal that his plea of guilty, and an apology, 
which he tendered after he had been committed for trial, entitled 
him to have only a^ nominal punishment inflicted upon him. 
His conviction was inevitable. An apology, particularly made 
after commitment, in such a case as this, need not be considered. 
Having regard to the gravity of the offence which Amba Prasad 
committed, and to the misery, ruin, and punishment which he 



SOME NOTABLE TRIALS. 57 

might have brought upon ignorant people, the sentence which 
was passed on him was entirely inadequate. We dismiss this 
appeal." 

Such was the conclusion arrived at on the facts, but it is not 
this so much as the elaborate inquiry into the law that preceded 
it, which constitutes the special importance of this case. After 
an exhaustive review of the three notable trials which had taken 
place, and a careful examination of all the judicial views which 
had been expressed from time to time, their lordships proceeded 
to lay down their own views as to the true meaning of the sec- 
tion — a question which admittedly was not entirely free from 
difficulty. 

" If there be any difficulty as to the true meaning of section 
124A," their lordships said, "it is caused by the Explanation 
which forms part of that section" (see Ch. i). Justice Strachey 
had experienced a similar difficulty, and Sir C. Farran had been 
hardly satisfied with the phraseology of it. 

"In our opinion," their lordships continued, "any one 
who, by any of the means referred to in section 124A of the 
Indian Penal Code, excites or attempts to excite feelings of 
hatred, dislike, ill-will, enmity or hostility towards the Govern- 
ment established by law in British India, excites or attempts 
to excite, as the case may be, feelings of ' disaffection,' as 
that term is used in section 124A, no matter how guardedly 
he may attempt to conceal his real object. It is obvious that 
feelings of hatred, dislike, ill-will, enmity, or hostility towards 
the Government, must be inconsistent with and incompatible 
with a disposition to render obedience to the lawful authority 
of the Government, and to support that lawful authority against 
unlawful attempts to subvert or resist it. The ' disapprobation 
of the measures of the Government ' may or may not, in any 
particular case, be the text upon which the speech is made, or 
the article or letter is written ; but if, upon a fair and impar- 
tial consideration of what was spoken or written, it is reason- 
ably obvious that the intention of the speaker or writer was to 
excite feelings of disaffection to the Government established by 
law in British India, then a Court or a jury should find that the 
speaker or writer or publisher, as the case might be, had com- 
mitted the offence of attempting to excite feelings of disafi^ec- 



58 THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

tion to the Government established by law in British India. To 
paraphrase is dangerous, but it appears to us that the disaffec- 
tion of section 124 A is ' disloyalty' ; that is the sense in 
which the word ' disaffection' has been generally used and 
understood during the century. We are further of opinion that 
the ordinary meaning of disaffection in section 124A, having 
regard to the evils at which section 124A strikes, is not varied 
by the explanation contained in the section.'' The same view 
had been previously expressed by Sir C. Farran, C. J., in the 
case before mentioned. 

" The intention of a speaker, writer or publisher " their 
lordships continued, " may be inferred from the particular 
speech, article or letter, or it may be proved from that speech, 
article or letter, considered in conjunction with what such 
speaker, writer, or publisher, has said, written, or published on 
another or other occasions. Where it is ascertained that the 
intention of the speaker, writer, or publisher was to excite 
feelings of disaffection to the Government established by law in 
British India, it is immaterial whether or not the words spoken* 
written, or published, could have the effect of exciting such 
feelings of disaffection, and it is immaterial whether the words 
were true or false, and, except on the question of punishment, or 
in a case in which the speaker, writer, or publisher is charged 
with having excited such feelings of disaffection, it is immaterial 
whether or not the words did, in fact, excite such feelings of 
disaffection." 

The above passage from the judgment of the Full Bench 
was subsequently cited in Council as containing a complete sum- 
mary of the law which had been laid down in the previous cases. 
Before proceeding, however, to consider the changes that were 
now introduced into the law, by the remodelling of the sec- 
tion relating to sedition, it will be useful to review shortly the 
result of the four cases which have been briefly summarised, and 
to ascertain to what extent the section had been affected by the 
judicial utterances of the learned judges who took part in the 
trials. 

In the first place it seems pretty clear that the term ' dis- 
affection ' had proved a vexata qucestio, for many definitions of 
the word had been offered, which were not all exactly alike- 



SOME NOTABLE TRIALS. 59' 

Sir C. Petheram, C. J., and Justice Strachey appeared to favour 
a construction which implied a negative state of mind, opposed 
to good-will and affection ; while Justice Parsons and Justice 
Ranade expressly favoured an interpretation which implied a 
positive mental condition, akin to political alienation or disloyalty. 

In describing the offence of creating ' disaffection ' the Eng- 
lish law had been freely resorted to. Sir C. Petheram, C. J., had 
said : — ' ' It is sufficient for the purposes of the section that the 
words used are calculated to excite feelings of ill-will against the 
Government, and to hold it up to the hatred and contempt of the 
people." Sir C. Farran, C. J., who cited Sir James Stephen, 
described the offence as "an attempt to produce hatred of 
Government as established by law, to excite political discontent, 
and alienate the people from their allegiance." There was, more- 
over, a general consensus that exciting disaffection was equivalent 
to exciting disloyalty. The term had been first employed by 
Justice Strachey, who said : — " 'Disloyalty' is perhaps the best 
general term, comprehending every possible form of bad feeling 
to the Government." It was finally employed by Sir John Edge, 
C. J., in summing up the conclusions of the Full Bench, when he 
said : — To paraphrase is dangerous, but it appears to us that 
the ' disaffection ' of section 124A is ' disloyalty : ' that is the 
sense in which the word ' disaffection ' has been generally used 
and understood during the century." 

If the word ' disaffection ' had presented difficulties, the 
' explanation ' to the section had undoubtedly proved a verit- 
able crux. The question how far it qualified the main provision 
had been anxiously considered. The Chief Justices of Bombay 
and Allahabad were both of opinion that its meaning was not 
varied by the ' explanation.' Justice Strachey considered that 
the explanation, or at least the latter part of it, had given rise 
to serious misconception. It had led people to suppose that 
nothing short of an incitement to rebellion was an offence within 
the meaning of the section ; and such a view of the law was cer- 
tainly opposed to its commonly accepted signification. The 
' explanation ' was therefore clearly ambiguous, and plainer 
language was wanted to prevent the possibility of misconception. 

Such was the situation which presented itself to the Legis- 
lature towards the end of the year 1897. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE LAV/ AMENDED. 

A Bill to amend the Penal Code in relation to Extra- 
territorial oSences had been for some time on the legislative 
anvil during the year 1897, when circumstances drew the 
attention of the Government to the expediency of amending at 
the same time the law of sedition. 

The raison d'etre of the contemplated amendment was 
stated by the Hon'ble Mr. Chalmers, the member in charge of 
the Bill, on the 25th December, of that year, in the following 
terms : — " As the Council are aware, recent events in India have 
called prominent attention to the law relating to seditious utter- 
ances and writings. We have had anxiously to consider the 
state of the law regarding these matters and to decide whether, 
and in what respects, it required amendment. AVe determined 
that we would do nothing hastily, and that the course we adopted 
should be the result of cool and deliberate consideration." 

"Two different lines of action," he continued, "were 
open to us. The first was to re-enact a Press Law similar to the 
Vernacular Press Act of 1878. The second was to amend the 
general law relating to sedition and cognate offences, so as to 
make it efficient for its purpose. We have come to the conclu- 
sion that the second course is the right one for us to take." 

" We welcome all fair, candid, and honest criticism," he 
added, ' ' and, speaking for ourselves, we care very little as to 
the terms or language in which such criticism may be expressed. 
The essential principle of English law is this. Every man is free 
to speak, write and print, whatever he pleases, without asking 
the leave or permission of any authority. But if he speaks, 
■\\Tites, or prints anything which contravenes the law of the 
land, he is liable to be proceeded against and punished. As 
long as a man keeps within the law no one can interfere with 
him. But, if he breaks the law, he is liable to punishment by 
a Court of Justice in the ordinary course of law. This seems 
to us a sound and healthy guiding principle, and we have 



1H#LAW AMENDED. 61 

deterniiiied to adhere to it. But we are also determined that 
the law shall not be a dead-letter, and that offenders against the 
law of the land shall be capable of being promptly brought to 
book." 

The Hon'ble Member then proceeded to point out the flaws 
in the law as it existed, as well as the urgency of amending it. 
■'As for the section," he said, " which deals with the offence of 
exciting disaffection against the Government, or, as it is called 
in England, sedition, I cannot say that that section strikes me 
as a model of clear drafting. That section was introduced into 
the Penal Code by Sir Fitzjames Stephen in 1870. In introduc- 
ing the Bill I believe he stated that his intention was to assimi- 
late the law of India to the law of England as regards the offence 
of sedition. The interpretation of the section has recently been 
discussed before the Calcutta, Bombay, and Allahabad High 
Courts, and it has been interpreted in accordance with English 
law. The result of the cases is to establish that it is a criminal 
offence to stir up feelings of contempt or hatred for the Govern- 
ment, and that such conduct is none the less an offence because 
resort to actual violence is not advocated. But no one can read 
the able arguments addressed to the Courts by Counsel for the 
accused in the Banyobasi and Tilak cases without coming to the 
conclusion that the law might be expressed in clearer and less 
equivocal terms. When law is codified, the codes should be 
as explicit as possible. ' ' 

" Moreover," he continued, " though the Calcutta, Bombay, 
and Allahabad Judges have substantially agreed in the interpre- 
tation of section 124A, their decisions are not technically binding 
on other High Courts. Having regard to these considerations 
we think it desirable to amend and re-draft section 124A, so as 
to bring it clearly into accord with English law. In England, 
words spoken or written with seditious intent constitute a cri- 
minal, offence, and the intent is presumed from the natural mean- 
ing of the words themselves, without reference to the actual 
feelings of the person who used them. In other words, the law 
applies a purely objective test. A seditious intention is thus 
defined in Stephen's ' Digest of the Criminal Law.'' It is ' an 
intention to bring into hatred or contempt, or to excite disaffec- 
tion against the person of Her Majesty, Her heirs or successors, 



•62 THE LAW OF SEd!tION. 

or the Government of the United Kingdom as by law established, 
or either House of Parliament, or the administration of justice, 
or to excite Her Majesty's subjects to attempt otherwise than by 
lawful means the alteration of any matter in Church or State, 
or to raise discontent or disaffection amongst Her Majestj'-'s 
subjects, or to promote feelings of hostility or ill-will between 
difTerent classes of such subjects.' Now adapting that defini- 
tion to the language of the Indian Penal Code and the circum- 
stances of India, we propose that section 124A shall be 
repealed, and that the following section shall be substituted 
therefor : — ' Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or 
by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or 
attempts to brjng into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts 
to excite disaffection towards Her Majesty or the Government, 
(or promotes or attempts to promote feelings of enmity or 
ill-will between different classes of Her Majesty's subjects) shall 
he punished with transportation for life or any shorter term, 
to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may 
extend to ten years, to which fine may be added, or with fine. 

Explanation 1. — The expression 'disaffection' includes dis- 
loyalty and all feelings of enmity (or ill-will). 

Explanation 2. — Comments on the measures of the Govern- 
ment with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, 
without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or 
disaffection do not constitute an ofTence.'" 

Such was the measure submitted to the Select Committee 
for consideration. The words within brackets were ultimately 
omitted by them, and the provision dealing with the promoting 
of class-hatred was placed by itself as a separate offence under 
section 1.53A. It \\i]\ be referred to hereafter under the class 
of cognate offences. 

The Hon'ble Member concluded his remarks on the new pro- 
vision as follows : — ' ' Let me say a word or two as to the scope 
of the new section. There is nothing in it which in any way in- 
terferes with the fair and free discussion of public matters. People 
are at liberty to criticise the action and conduct of the Gov- 
ernment in all its departments. And more than that, they are 
at liberty to bestir themselves to procure reforms, and to obtain 
such alterations of the law as they may think desirable, provided 



THE Law amended. 63 

they do so by lawful and constitutional means. There is nothing ' 
in the section to prohibit this, but we have added Explanation 2 
to the section in order to affirm this principle expressly. I wish 
further to point this out. Subject to one possible exception, 
our proposed new section in no wise alters the law at present in 
force in India. It merely affirms in, I hope, unmistakable terms, 
the consentient opinions of the various High Courts which have 
been called upon to interpret the existing section 124A." 

The possible exception referred to was the provision which 
was ultimately removed from the section, and incorporated in 
the Code as section 153 A. 

On the 18th February, 1898, the Legislative Council assem- 
bled for the final consideration of the Bill. The Sclent Committee 
had made various concessions to the critics, some of whose sug- 
gestions had been adopted. The provision regarding class- 
hatred, as already mentioned, had been extracted, and assigned 
a more important position in the Code, and the term ' ill-will ' 
had also been struck out. as being too wide and vague in its 
meaning. 

In addition to these changes, the term ' Government ' 
had been replaced by ' Government established by law in Bri- 
tish India,' the original words of the section ; the maximum 
term of imprisonment had been altered from ten years to three 
years ; and a third Explanation had been added, to prevent 
misapprehension. This last addition M^as thus explained by 
the Hon'ble Member : — ' ' We have added a further explanation 
to clause 124A. The second explanation was intended to protect 
fair and honest criticism which had for its object the alteration of 
the policy pursued by the Government in any particular case. 
Some people were apprehensive that the express declaration of 
this principle might be held impliedly to negative the right of 
people to criticise Government action when that criticism could 
not lead to a reversal of such action ; for instance criticism on 
past expenditure, or criticism on an appointment which the cri- 
tic may think objectionable. I think this apprehension was 
quite unfounded, but in order to allay it we have introduced 
the third explanation.''^ 

Some of the main objections, however, to the Bill were ad- 
vanced on this occasion. It was contended that the existing 



64 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

* law was being altered and extended, while there was no occasion 
for it. To this it was answered : — "No one who candidly and 
carefully reads the consentient decisions of the Calcutta, Bombay 
and Allahabad High Courts can come to any other conclusion 
than this — namely, that in our new section we are keeping well 
within the existing law, though, we are expressing that law in 
less ambiguous language." 

" Then it is urged," the Hon'ble Member continued, 
" that the proposed clause goes further than English law, and 
again some passages in Sir Fitzjames Stephen's speech are 
referred to. All I can say is this. If in 1870 he thought that 
an appeal to force was a necessary constituent of sedition, he 
afterwards changed his mind. Afuer he had served on the 
Criminal Code Commission, which was composed of some cf the 
most distinguished Judges of modern times, he published his 
Digest of the English Criminal Law. In Article 96 of that Digest 
he states the English law in the clear and precise terms which 
I read to the Council on the 21st December. There is nothing 
in that article, and there is nothing in the almost identical article 
framed by the Criminal Code Commission to suggest that an appeal 
to violence is a necessary factor in the offence. I take it that 
the offence is complete, both in India and England, if it be prov- 
ed that the offender has attempted to excite disaffection towards 
the Government. It is not necessary that he should himself 
appeal to force. What he does is to excite or attempt to excite 
feelings of discontent which make people ready for mischief 
should the opportunity arise." 

"But after all," he added, "these arguments are more 
or less academic. No one in his senses would contend that 
because a given law is good and suitable in England, it is there- 
fore good and suitable in India. If a rule of law exists in England 
we may fairly consider whether it is suitable to India, but the 
answer to the question must always depend on the conditions 
which prevail in India. How much license of speech can be safely 
allowed is a question of time and place. If I smoke a cigar on 
the maidan it pleases me, and hurts no one else. If I smoke a 
cigar in the powder magazine of the Fort, I endanger the lives 
of many, and do an act well deserving punishment. Language 
may be tolerated in England which it is unsafe to tolerate in India, 



THE LAW AMENDED. 65 

because in India it is apt to be transformed into action instead 
of passing off as harmless gas. In legislating for India we must 
have regard to Indian conditions, and we must rely mainly on 
the advice of those who speak under the weight of responsibi- 
lity and have the peace and good government of India under, 
their charge." 

The difference between the social conditions prevailing in 
England and those of India appears to have been entirely over- 
looked by the most vigorous opponents of the Bill, for their argu- 
ments would seem to be based on the assumption of their com- 
plete similarity. This would account for the strenuous efforts 
made for the introduction of the English law, or what they sup- 
posed to be the English law of sedition into India. 

On this point the observations of the Lieutenant-Governor 
of Bengal, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, carry with them the weight 
of authority and experience. " Much of the outcry," he said, 
' ' against the present Bill rests upon its supposed divergence 
from the law of England on seditious libel, and on the assertion 
that the law as settled in 1870 was sufficient and ought to be 
final. Now I venture to assert these two propositions — first, 
that the law of England, built up by judicial rulings to meet the 
circumstances of a homogeneous people directly interested in and 
sharing in its own government, is not necessarily a norm to which 
the law of India ought strictly to conform ; and second, that 
the conditions of the country have themselves so altered since 
1870 that what was adequate then is not necessarily adequate 
now. As to the first point — If the section is in strict accord 
with the English law, all criticism of it loses weight ; if it is not, 
there is in the very great difference in the conditions of the two 
countries ample justification for any deviation from the English 
law necessary for effectively checking the offence of sedition in 
India. It is clear that a sedition law which is adequate for a 
people ruled by a government of its own nationality and faith 
may be inadequate, or in some respects unsuited, for a country 
under foreign rule and inhabited by many races, with diverse 
customs and conflicting creeds. It is impossible in India to ac- 
cept the test of direct incitement to violence or intention to 
commit rebellion, and limit the interference of the Government 
to such cases. It is not the apparent intention of the writers or 
D, LS 5 



66 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

speakers so mucli as the tendency of the writings or speeches which 
has to be regarded, and the cumulative efiect of depreciatory 
declamation on the minds of an ignorant and excitable popula- 
tion has to be taken into consideration." 

" As to the second point," he continued, " the necessity 
for the proposed legislation is unquestionable. Ever since the 
repeal of the Vernacular Press Act, the Native Press has been 
year by year growing more reckless in its mode of writing about 
the Government, Government officers, and Government measures. 
Doubts having been always felt by the law officers as to the scope 
of section 124A of the Penal Code, the general policy has 
been to ignore these attacks. In Bengal the only Press prosecu- 
tion for seditious writing has been that of the Bangobasi news- 
paper, instituted in 1891, in which the jury disagreed, and 
which terminated eventually in the acceptance of an apology 
by the Government from the offending editor. The absence 
of other prosecutions cannot, however, be urged as evidence 
that seditious writing is rare in Bengal, and that an alteration 
of the law is not therefore called for in this Province. Eesistance 
to the Government by violence has, it is true, not been directly 
suggested in the Bengal Press, and a sufficient reason for this 
may be found in the character of the writers, who belong to, 
and whose readers are, a people wanting in the warlike spirit of 
many other races of India ; but there has been incessant writing 
tending to bring the Government, whether in itself or through its 
officers, into hatred and contempt, and such writing, though not 
immediately leading to resistance by force to the Government, 
cannot fail by its cumulative effect to create disaffection and ill- 
will, and thus produce such a state of feeling as may eventually 
prove dangerous to the maintenance of order and find its culmina- 
tion in active resistance. Whether, then, we look at the ob- 
jections which have been taken by the people themselves to the 
interpretation of the present law by the Courts, or to the nature 
of much that has been written in the Native Press, the necessity 
for an amendment of the law is clear." 

"To any one," he continued, "who studies, as I do from 
Week to week, the utterances of the Press in India, nothing can 
be more clear than that, though we seldom have such bold 
sedition preached as led to the recent trials in Bombay, or 



THE LAW AMENDED. 67 

as prevailed here in 1870, we are now face to face with a far more 
insidious and equally dangerous style of writing and speaking. 
And this is an evil which is yearly growing, and with the 
spread of what is called education is becoming more far-reaching 
in its noxious effects. It is indeed, in my opinion, to our own 
system of education that we owe all the trouble. I have lon» 
been convinced that it is thoroughly unsound. We are turning 
out by scores of thousands young men who are trained only in 
words, look mainly for Government employment, and failing to 
get it become, as the Maharaja of Travancore described them, 
' a host ot discontented, disobedient, and sometimes trouble- 
some young men.' This is the class that writes for the Native 
Press, perorates on platforms, and generally vents its spleen 
upon the Government which has not been able to find appoint- 
ments for more than a fraction of its members. To honest, 
well-informed criticism no English Government would ever 
object. But every Government has the right to object when its 
critics wander off from criticism to calumny. No Government, 
such as ours in India can afford to allow the minds of an 
ignorant and credulous oriental population to be gradually 
poisoned and embittered by persistent calumny of the Govern- 
ment and all its measures. If these sections lead to a more 
careful, well-considered and responsible jommalism, they wall 
confer a benefit not only on the State and the public, but on 
the journalistic profession itself." 

The wide difference betw^een the social conditions of the 
two countries was freely discussed by other members of the 
Council as well ; notably by Sir Griffith Evans, whose remarks 
are both weighty and interesting. He said:— "The advantages 
of free and intelligent criticism and discussion of the acts and 
measures of Government, and of pointing out abuses and 
failures and suggesting remedies, are apparent and undeniable, 
and the liberty of the Press is a household word dear to the 
heart of every Englishman. I am glad to think that a large 
number of the newspapers in India, English and Vernacular; 
have carried out these objects, and have discharged their duties 
as fearless critics to the benefit alike of governors and governed. 
But a free Press is an exotic in India, and indeed in Asia, and, 
like plants and animals transplanted into new surroundings, 



68 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

is liable to strange developments. For many years a portioa 
of the Native Press, and particularly of the Vernacular Press, 
has devoted itself to pouring forth a continual stream of 
calumny and abuse of the British Government in India and to 
teaching its readers that all their misfortunes, poverty and mise- 
ries arise from a foreign Government, which draws away their 
wealth and is callous to their miseries, and from whom they 
can expect neither justice nor sympathy." 

It might almost be thought that the Hon'ble Member was 
here paraphrasing the articles in the Bangohasi, at the trial of 
which he was Counsel for the Crown. 

"Now it needs no argument," he continued, "to prove 
that Avriting of this character, whatever the motives or ultimate 
objects of the writers may be, circulated daily for years amongst 
a credulous people, must tend to make them hate the cause of all 
their woes. It is a hopeless task for any Government, especially 
a foreign one, to endeavour to win or retain the affections of the 
people by just government and solicitude for their benefit, if 
the minds of the people are daily poisoned with matter of this, 
kind, written in their own language and by men who know 
how to appeal to their sympathies, credulity, and religious 
feelings." 

'* Some of the apologists of the Native Press," he added ,f 
•' minimise the evil. But to those who have watched it, as I 
have for thirty years, and for twenty years as a Member of this 
Council, it is apparent that this is the work of a small minority 
who have partaken of the cheap education of our schools and 
who distil and sell the poisonous product of the ferment in their 
heads of ill -assimilated and misapplied Western ideas. This 
opinion is not a hasty one ; it is the same as I expressed in this 
Council in 1878, and as was then expressed in weighty language 
by the present Advocate-General of Bengal, whose knowledge 
of the country none can deny, and who has never been accused 
of want of sympathy with its inhabitants. He then said : — 
* Having attentively considered these extracts, I am irresistibly 
led to the conclusion that it is intended by these publications to 
disseminate disaffection, to excite evil prejudices, to stir up dis- 
content, and to produce mischief of the gravest character : in 
short, to render the Government, its officers, and Europeans gene- 



THE LAW AMENDED. 



69 



rally, hateful to the people. These are evil purposes which should 
be repressed with a strong hand and their controversy restrained 
from all further attempt to administer their subtile poison to 
the lower orders of the people, to saturate their minds with evil 
thoughts and to arouse their evil passions.' Since then the evil 
has grown greatly." 

From these important statements it would appear that the 
measure introduced by Sir James Stephen in 1870 had not 
proved effective in checking the license of a certain section of 
the Native Press. That measure had been passed at the time 
of the Wahabi conspirac}^, and it was probably framed, as 
the Lieutenant-Governor elsewhere remarks, ' ' to meet that 
exigency. ' ' 

At all events in 1878 the state of things must have been 
serious, if the description given by Sir Griffith Evans and Sir 
Charles Paul be a correct one. In that year Lord Lytton's Press 
Act (IX and XVI of 1878) was introduced to meet the evil, but 
it was repealed in less than four years, during the regime of 
his successor. As to the wisdom of this policy Sir Griffith Evans 
expressed no opinion. He merely said : — " The Vernacular 
Press Act was introduced to check license while leaving liberty. 
It worked well and without hardship, but was repealed in 1882. 
Since then the mischief has spread rapidly." 

The Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, was 
more explicit when he said : — ' ' Ever since the repeal of the 
Vernacular Press Act, the Native Press has been year by year 
growing more reckless in its mode of writing about the 
Government," though he made some notable exceptions. 
Speaking in 1898 his opinion was : — ' ' We are now-a-days face 
to face with a far more insidious and equally dangerous style 
of writing and speaking." 

It is clear then that the Government, as the Law Member 
had stated at the outset, were presented with two alternatives — 
the one, to restore the Press Act of 1878; the other to amend 
the law of sedition so as to make it more effective. 

The former course was obviously repugnant. The Law Mem- 
ber openly avowed his reluctance to adopt it. He said: — " We 
Lave been urged both from official and private sources to re-enact 



70 



THE LAW OF SEDITION. 



the Press law. But we are entirely opposed to that course. 
We do not want a Press in leading strings that can be made to 
dance to any tune that its censors may think fit to call. We want 
simply a free Press that \\ill not transgress the law ol the land. 
We are aiming ai; sedition and offences akin to it, and not at the 
Press." 

In adopting the other course, how was the law to be made 
more effective ? Obviously, by expressing it in plainer language 
so that it could not be misunderstood. If it was to be interpreted 
as the defence desired in the Bamjohasi and Tilak cases, it was 
quite clear that it would never reach a large class of seditious 
writing, referred to by the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, which 
fell short of counselling open resistance, but nevertheless worked 
an infinite amount of mischief. Three High Courts had been 
opposed to that view, and held it to be erroneous. But neverthe- 
less it was thought desirable that the law as codified should be 
plainly in accord with judicial opinion, and free from the liability 
of misconstruction, and this was accordingly done. 

In conclusion His Excellency Lord Elgin, the President, 
spoke as follows : — " All that we, the Government, can say is 
that we desire the powers necessary to put down sedition. We 
ask for nothing more, but we can be satisfied with nothing less. 
We do not desire to have a law which bears oppressively on one 
particular section of the community. Only partial justice is 
done to us when it is said that we have abstained from proposing 
an enactment aimed at the Vernacular Press, because as a matter 
of fact our legislation is not a Press Act at all. It lays down cer- 
tain rules of conduct, by observing which any member of the com- 
munity can keep within the law, rules which are applicable to all 
and show favour to none.'' 

The Bill amending section 124A of the Penal Code was 
then passed as Act IV of 1898. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



WHAT IS SEDITION. 



The new provision introduced into the Indian Penal Code 
by Act IV of 1898, in place of the former one was as follows : — 

"124A. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, 
„ ... or by signs, or by visible representation, or 

otherwise, brings or ; attempts to bring into 
hatred or contempt, or excites or ^ attempts to excite disafiec- ^ ^ 
tion towards Her Majesty or the Government established by 
law in British India, shall be punished with transportation for 
life or any shorter term, to which fine may be added, or with 
imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine 
may be added, or with fine. 

Explanation 1. — The expression 'disaffection' includes 
disloyalty and all feelings of enmity. 

Explanation 2. — Comments expressing disapprobation of 
the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their 
alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting 
to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an 
offence under this section. 

Explanation 3. — Comments expressing disapprobation of 
the administrative or other action of the Government without 
exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, 
do not constitute an offence under this section." 

By the General Clauses Act (X of 1897) the term ' Her 
Majesty' means ' Her Majesty and Her Majesty's successors.* 

In comparing this provision with the previous one, for 
which it was substituted, it has to be borne in mind that it 
does not alter the law of sedition in any respect, but merely re- 
states it, as judicially interpreted in the four cases already dis- 
cussed, in somewhat plainer language. 

The introduction of the expression ' bring into hatred or 
contempt' is traceable to Sir C Petheram's charge in the Ban- 
gohasi trial (see Ch. iv), while he himself had imported it from 
the English law. The introduction of the term ' disloyalty ' is 



72 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

traceable to Justice Strachey's charge in Tilak's case (see Ch.v), 
and to the Full Bench decisions in Bombay and Allahabad 
(see Ch. vi) which followed it. The re-casting of the Explanation 
is the result of the views expressed in the last three cases. 

Mr. Mayne in his " Criminal Law of India" aptly summaris- 
es these changes as follows : — ' ' The amended section was passed 
with reference to all these decisions, and seems to have been 
framed with a view to maintain the construction which had 
been put on the earlier section, by introducing words in accord- 
ance with that construction, and excluding all ambiguous phrases. 
The changes in the wording of the principal section and expla- 
nation 1 make clear what was meant by disaffection. Explana- 
tions 2 and 3 make equally clear what is the subject matter 
against which political disapprobation may be aroused, and 
what are the limitations within which such disapprobation must 
be confined. The highly metaphysical description, of a dis- 
approbation which is consistent with a disposition to support 
the Government in doing the things you disapprove, is wisely 
left out." 

Sedition, briefly, is the offence of exciting, or attempting to 
excite, disaffection. 

It will be observed that the Legislature has refrained from 
defining the term disaffection. This was advisedly done. It 
had been judicially interpreted frequently, and there was no 
occasion to fetter the discretion of the Courts by defining it. 
Sir James Stephen hadin like manner refused to define it in 1870. 
It was difficult to define, but impossible to mistake it, he said. 
' And so the Courts of Equity would not define ' fraud,' lest 
fraud were committed outside the definition.' 

Disaffection, however, when analysed is a state of mind or 
psychological disposition with well-defined characteristics. It 
is in fact the mental condition of being disaffected. To be 
disaffected is to be adversely affected towards, or turned against 
any one, e.g., the Government. 

Disaffection is clearly not the converse of affection. This 
is obvious, for affection is not demanded by the Sovereign of 
his subjects, either for himself or his government, nor is the want 
of it reprehensible or punishable. Loyalty, not affection, is 
what is looked for. It might be safer, then, to eliminate the 



WHAT IS SEDITION. 73 

■word ' affection ' altogether from this connection, seeing that it 
has given rise to confusion in the past, notably in Tilak' s case. 
Disaffection is a more comprehensive term than disloyalty, 
and is expressly stated by the section to include it. Disloyalty 
implies disaffection towards the Sovereign, and is limited to 
that meaning, at least in its ordinary sense, in which it is used 
in this section. It could not well be applied to the case of the 
Government, whereas the wider term is intended to cover the 
•cases of both. 

If these conclusions be correct, it becomes at once possible 
to define the term ' sedition. ' The offence of sedition, which 
consists of the act of exciting, or the attempt to excite, dis- 
affection in others, may be said to be equivalent to making 
or trying to make others disaffected or adversely disposed 
towards the Sovereign or his government ; or, in other words, 
turning the people against their rulers. This is an offence 
against the State, and what the law prohibits, under a penalty. 
But, it will be observed, the section expressly mentions 
certain specific forms of sedition, viz., ' bringing or attempting to 
bring the Sovereign or his government into hatred or contempt.' 
These are only some of the numerous ways of exciting disaffec- 
tion, which it was not absolutely essential to specify, inasmuch 
as they are included in the mischief contemplated. This was 
in fact admitted by the Law Member at the time the Bill was 
before the Council, when he said: — "It makes very little 
difference whether the words 'bring into hatred or contempt' 
are inserted or not, because if they were not inserted they 
would be there impliedly. They are comprised in the term 
'disaffection' according to the decision of the Courts ; as Chief 
Justice Petheram says : — " It is sufiicient for the purposes of 
the section that the words are calculated to excite feelings of 
ill-will against the Government and to hold it 'up to the hatred 
or contempt of the people.' Therefore those words are already 
by implication in the section, but it is necessary to unfold the 
meaning and to explain what the section really means.' ' 

It is clear from this that these words have been inserted, 
not inadvertently, but advisedly, as a guide to the construction 
of the section. They tend to simplify its meaning by specifying 
5ome of the feelings which would constitute disaffection. It 



74 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

would be obviously inconvenient, even if it were possible, to 
enumerate them all. 

Feelings of disaffection have, however, been judicially 
considered, and examples have been given. Sir C. Petheram, 
C. J., thought they would include "dislike or hatred." 
Justice Strachey enumerated ' ' hatred, enmity, dislike, hos- 
tility, contempt and every form of ill-will.' ' Sir C. Farran, C J.^ 
specified "hatred," "political discontent," and " alienation of 
allegiance." Justice Parsons mentioned "political alienation or 
discontent," and a " disposition not to obey but to resist." 

Justice Ranade has included in his comprehensive list 
feelings of "aversion," "insubordination," "animosity," 
"hatred," "contempt," "discontent," " alienation." Sir 
John Edge, C. J., has given us "hatred, dislike, ill-will, 
enmity, hostility," and "disloyalty." 

More recently (2 Bom. L. R., 295) Sir L. Jenkins, C. J,, 
has named as hostile feelings, "hatred," "contempt," 
"disloyalty," and "enmity." Justice Batty too has 
expressed the view (8 Bom. L. R., 437) that though disaffection 
may include such feelings, or positive emotions, as enmity, 
hatred, hostility and contempt, it is not by any means limited 
to these. He adds: — "The ruler must be accepted as a 
ruler, and disaffection which is the opposite of that feeling, 
is the repudiation of that spirit of acceptance of a particular 
Government as ruler." 

It is clear from this exhaustive list that the feelings which 
constitute disaffection are both manifold and complex. 
Moreover, concrete examples may in the future give birth to 
fresh ideas, so that the list cannot be regarded as even com- 
plete. The study of so complex a subject, therefore, should 
not be limited to the four corners of the section. It is from 
the interpretation and application of the law as contained in 
the section to concrete cases that the most comprehensive 
knowledge of its landmarks is to be obtained. An exhaustive 
summary of this case-law will be found in previous and subse- 
quent chapters. 

Next as to the means by which disaffection may be excited. 
This may be done in a variety of ways, though the medium 
usually employed is either the platform or the Press, 



WHAT IS SEDITION. 75 

The section specifies four methods, viz.: — "Words spoken," 
"words written," "signs," and "visible representation." 
The word "written" has been substituted for the words "in- 
tended to be read" in the old section, which before the amend- 
ment contained the four identical expressions that appear in 
section 499 of the Penal Code, which relates to the offence of 
defamation. 

It may be doubted whether the word "written" is an 
improvement on the expression "intended to be read," because 
after all the essence of the offence, as in the case of libel, is 
publication. Writing without publication could not possibly 
excite disaffection iu others, which is, in fact, the gist of the 
offence 

If a journalist wrote a seditious article and kept it in his 
drawer, it could never excite disaffection so long as it remained 
there, though if it afterwards came to be published it might 
be different. As to this Mr. Mayne in his " Criminal Law of 
India," citing Foster, has said: — "The mere writing of 
seditious words which are not intended for publication and 
are kept by the author in his own possession, would not be 
punishable under the section." 

"What is the meaning of publication V said Lord Esher 
in the case of Pullman v. Hill (1891, 1 Q. B., p. 527). "The 
making known the defamatory matter after it has been written." 
Though this was a case of common libel, the principle is the 
Sctme in seditious libel. It is the same too with sedition in 
India. Without publication the writing of seditious matter 
would be no offence, for it could not cause disaffection until it 
was communicated to some one. In reading the section, 
therefore, it would seem to be necessary to understand the 
term 'written' to mean 'written and published,' which is a 
legitimate equivalent for the former expression, ' intended to 
be read,' — a term which is still preserved in section 499 of the 
Penal Code. It is moreover in accord with the law of England 
(see Ch. ii). 

With regard to ' words spoken ' publicity is implied, and 
probably also in the case of 'signs' or 'visible representation.' 
For an instance of the first, reference may be made to the cases 
of Chidambaram Pillai v. Ein'peror (32 Mad. 3), and LeaJcut 



76 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Hossein v. Emperor (see Ch. xii) ; and also to the English case 
of Reg. V. Burns (16 Cox, 355 : see Ch. ii). 

For an example of the second reference may be made to the 
case of Reg. v. Sullivan (11 Cox, pp. 51-6: see Ch. ii), where 
"woodcuts published in the Weeklij iVeit's " were charged as 
'seditious libels.' In that case Lord Fitzgerald said: — "A 
seditious libel does not necessarily consist of written matter, it 
may be evidenced by a woodcut or engraving of any kind." 

An example of the last might be a dramatic performance, 
such as would come within the purview of Act XIX of 1876, 
s. 3 (see Appx.). Reference may also be made to the case of 
Monson v. Tussaud (1894, Q. B. 671), which was a case of 
■common libel by ' visible representation.' In this case the 
scene of the ' ' Adlamont Tragedy ' ' was depicted with the aid 
of life-size efl&gies in wax, in a manner altogether unfavourable 
to the plaintiff, who had been tried for murder in Scotland and 
■discharged. 

" Disaffection," said Justice Strachey, " may be excited in 
a thousand different ways. A poem, an allegory , a drama, a 
philosophical or historical discussion, may be used for the pur- 
pose of exciting disaffection just as much as direct attacks upon 
the Government. You have to look through the form, and look 
to the real object : you have to consider whether the form of a 
poem or discussion is genuine, or whether it has been adopted 
merely to disguise the real seditious intention of the writer." 

This discloses another point of resemblance to the offence of 
defamation, viz. : — ^that the seditious imputation may be con- 
veyed by innuendo, as was in fact the case in Tilak's newspaper 
the Kesari. " Upon occasions of this sort," said Justice Buller, 
' ' I have never adopted any other rule than that which has been 
frequently repeated by Lord Mansfield to juries, desiring them 
to read the paper stated to be a libel as men of common under- 
standing, and say whether in their minds it conveys the idea 
imputed." 

In almost similar terms were the jury charged by Justice 
Strachey. " Read the articles," he said, " and ask yourselves, 
as men of the world, whether they impress you on the whole 
as a mere poem and a historical discussion without disloyal 
purpose, or as attacks on the British Government under the 



WHAT IS SEDITION. 77 

disguise of a poem and a historical discussion. If the object 
of a publication is really seditious, it does not matter what 
form it takes." 

And so too in the case of Queen-Empress v. Vinayeh (2 Bom. 
L. K., p. 308) Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., charged the jury: — "It 
will be for you to look at these articles and determine what is 
their true meaning, what is the innuendo they convey, what is 
the covert meaning, if any, they have. Having reached that 
point, you must decide in your minds what is the probable or 
natural eflect of these words." 

The next point to be noted in the section is that it prohibits 
alike the act and the attempt to excite disaffection. The reason 
for this may be found in the enormous difficulty of proving that 
disaffection has actually resulted from the effort to produce it. 
This is conceivable in the case of an inflammatory speech 
which is followed immediately by a disturbance, or other un- 
mistakable signs of disaffection, but in the case of seditious, 
matter disseminated through the Press it would be next to im- 
possible to trace a connection. 

In Tilak's case, it will be remembered, it was alleged bv 
the Crown that within a week of the publication of the articles 
charged two murders had been committed at Poona. It was a 
matter of inference whether the one event was the result of the 
other, but it was impossible to produce evidence to connect 
the two. 

As to this Justice Strachey said : — ' ' You will observe that 
the section places on absolutely the same footing the successful 
exciting of feelings of disaffection and the unsuccessful at- 
tempt to excite them, so that if you find that either of the pri- 
soners has tried to excite such feelings in others, you must con- 
vict him even if there is nothing to show that he succeeded." 

This important feature of the law has also been demon- 
strated in the clearest terms by Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., in a 
later case^ Queen-Empress v. Luxman (2 Bom. L. R,, p. 296), 
where he said : — ' ' It is not suggested that the publications in 
question have in fact resulted in the creation of these feelings of 
hostility ; what is said is that the ofiending articles evince a 
clear attempt to create these feelings. It is no defence to urge 
that the accused has failed in his endeavour. If you are. 



78 THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

satisfied that the attempt was made, the accused cannot 
shelter himself behind this fact that those, to whom he may- 
have addressed himself, have either been too discreet or too 
temperate to act upon the obvious meaning of his teaching." 

His lordship then proceeded to define the meaning of the 
term 'attempt.' "An attempt," he said, "is an intentional 
preparatory action which fails in its object — which so fails 
through circumstances independent of the person who seeks 
its accomplishment." 

This definition was subsequently cited by Justice Batty 
(8 Bom. L. R., 439), who expressed precisely the same views. 
^'It is not necessary," he said, "in order to bring the case 
within this section that it should be shown that the attempt 
was successful. Attempt does not imply success. It is merely 
trying. AAThoever tries to excite, attempts to excite, etc., is 
held to come within the section. Whether the intention has 
achieved the result is immaterial." His lordship then quoted 
the observations of Justice Cave in Reg. v. Burns (see Ch. Hi). 
" A man cannot escape from the uttering of words with intent 
to excite people to violence solely because the persons whom he 
addressed may be too wise or temperate to be induced to act 
with violence." 

It is obvious that fewer elements are required for the proof 
of an attempt than for the proof of an act. In fact the act of 
sedition could only be proved in exceptional cases, as has been 
already pointed out. It is otherwise with an attempt, for proof 
must largely depend on the character of the language used. 

" If a person," said Sir C. Petheram, C. J., "uses either 
spoken or written words calculated to create in the minds of the 
persons to whom they are addressed a disposition not to obey 
the lawful authority of the Government, or to subvert or resist 
that authority, if and when occasion should arise, and if he 
does so with the intention of creating such a disposition in his 
hearers or readers, he will be guilty of the offence of attempting 
to excite disaffection within the meaning of the section, though 
no disturbance is brought about by his words, or any feeling of 
disafiection in fact produced by them. It is sufficient for the 
purposes of the section that the words used are calculated to 
excite feelings 'of ill-will against the Government, and to hold 



WHAT IS SEDITION. 79 

it up to tlie hatred and contempt of the people, and that they 
were used with the intention to create such feeling." 

It will thus be seen that the attempt which is punishable 
without regard to the result, is dependent upon two conditions ; 
the character of the language employed, and the intention with 
which they were used. 

Now, it will be observed that the word ' intention ' is 
nowhere employed in the section. The omission of the term 
was deliberate, and two reasons were given for its omission. 
One was that the former section had worked very well for 
nearly thirty years without it, and the other, that it was un- 
necessary, for the word ' intention ' was after all only a legal 
fiction, and a man's intention must always be judged by his 
acts. 

Reliance was placed on Sir James Stephen's " Digest of the 
Criminal Law,'" article 99, which is as follows: — "In deter- 
mining whether the intention with which any words were 
spoken, any document was published, was or was not seditious, 
every person must be deemed to intend the consequences 
which would naturally follow from his conduct at the time and 
under the circumstances in which he so conducted himself ' ' 
(see Chs. ii — Hi). Taylor on Evidence was also referred to, 
where he says : — ' ' It is again conclusively presumed that every 
sane man of the age of discretion contemplates the natural 
and probable consequences of his own acts." 

The object of the Legislature in so framing the section is 
thus apparent. It was not,, as some had supposed, to punish 
unintentional acts and attempts, but to leave the Courts to deter- 
mine, as they had hitherto done, a person's intention from his 
language and conduct. And so the jury were charged in the 
Bangobasi case. Sir C. Petheram, C. J., there said: — "You 
will bear in mind that the question you have to decide has 
reference to the intention ; and in fact, the crime consists of the 
intention, for a man might lawfully do the act without the 
intention. The evidence of the intent can only be gathered 
from the articles." 

Justice Strachey, in Tilak's case, addressed the jury in 
similar terms. "You will thus see that the whole question is 
one of the intention of the accused in publishing these articles. 



80 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Did they intend to excite in the minds of their readers feelinga 
of disaffection or enmity to the Government ? Or did they in- 
tend merely to excite disapprobation of certain Government 
measures ? Or did they intend to excite no feeling adverse 
either to the Government or its measures, but only to excite in- 
terest in a poem about Shivaji and a historical discussion about 
his alleged killing of a Mahommedan General ? Tfcese are the 
questions which you have to consider. But you may ask, how- 
are we to ascertain whether the intention of the accused was 
this, that, or the other 1 There are various ways in which you 
must approach the question of intention. You must gather 
the intention as best you can from the language of the articles ; 
and you may also take into consideration, under certain condi- 
tions, the other articles that have been put in evidence. But 
the first and most important index of the intention of the writer 
or publisher of a newspaper article is the language of the article- 

itself." 

"What is the intention," the learned Judge continued, 
"which the articles themselves convey to your minds? In 
considering this, you must first ask yourselves — what would 
be the natural and probable effect of reading such articles in 
the minds of the readers of the Kesari, to whom they were 
addressed 1 If you think that such readers would naturally 
and probably be excited to entertain feelings of enmity to the 
Govermnent, then you will be justified in presuming that the- 
accused intended to excite feelings of enmity or disaffection. 
As a matter of common sense, a man is presumed to intend the 
natural and ordinary consequences of his acts." 

It is the same in England. In the case of Reg. v. Burdett 
(4 B. & A., p. 120), Justice Best said: — "With respect to 
whether this was a libel, I told the jury that the question whether 
it was published with the intention alleged in the information 
was peculiarly for their consideration ; but I added that this 
intention was to be collected from the paper itself, unless the 
import of the paper were explained by the mode of publicationi 
or any other circumstances. I added that if it appeared that 
the contents of the paper were likely to excite sedition and dis- 
affection, the defendant must be presumed to intend that which 
his act was likely to produce." 



WHAT IS SEDITION. 81 

"Every man," said Lord Tenterden, C. J., in Haire v. 
Wilson (9 B. & C. 643), "is presumed to intend the natural and 
ordinary consequences of his act. If the tendency of the pub- 
lication was injurious to the plaintiff, the law will assume that 
the defendant, by publishing it, intended to produce the injury 
which it was calculated to effect " (see Ch. Hi). 

Lord Tenterden' s celebrated dictum was echoed in Sir 
L. Jenkins's charge to the jury in the case of Queen-Empress v. 
Luxman, already referred to, where he said : — " It is obvious that 
you must determine what was the accused's intention. Was it 
his intention to call into being hostile feelings ? To decide this 
you have to be guided by the rule (perhaps a rough and ready 
rule, but one always accepted until it can be shown that there 
is no room for its application) that a man must be taken to in- 
tend the natural and reasonable consequences of his act, so that 
if on reading through these articles the reasonable, and natural, 
and probable effect of these articles on the minds of those to 
whom they were addressed appears to you to be that feelings of 
hatred, contempt or disaffection would be excited towards the 
Government, then you will be justified in saying that these articles 
were written with that intent, and that these articles therefore 
are an attempt to create the feeling against which the law seeks 
to provide." 

It is clear, then, that ' intention ' is an essential element in 
the offence of sedition, though the section does not expressly 
say so. On the other hand the prosecution are relieved from 
the burden of proving it directly, which in most cases would be 
impracticable, for the law will presume the intention, whether 
good or bad, from the language and conduct of the' accused. 
It will then be for him to show that his words were harmless 
and his motives innocent. 

"Intention," says Mr. Mayne in his 'Criminal Law of 
India,' "for this purpose, is really no more than meaning. 
When a man is charged in respebt of anything he has written or 
said, the meaning of what he said or wrote must be taken to be 
his meaning, and that meaning is what his language would be 
understood to mean by the people to whom it is addressed." 

"The intention of a speaker, writer, or publisher," said Sir 
John Edge, C.J. (20 All., p. 69), "may be inferred from the 
13, LS '6 



82 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

particular speech, article, or letter, or it may be proved from 
that speech, article, or letter considered in conjunction with 
what such speaker, writer, or publisher has said, written or 
published on other occasions." 

In singular contrast to these weighty opinions stands the 
solitary dictum of Justice Caspersz and Justice Chitty in the 
case of Apurha Krishna Bose v. Etnperor (35 Cal. at p. 153), 
where it is laid down : — ' ' The definition of sedition given in 
section 124A of the Indian Penal Code contemplates hatred or 
contempt or disaffection towards His Majesty or the Government 
established by law in British India, and this apart from any 
intention of the offender." 

Such a view of the law appears to be directly opposed to 
the whole current of judicial authorit}^ both in England and in 
India 

Another important point to be noted is the persons who 
are protected by the section, and against whom sedition is pro- 
hibited. These are, in the first place, the Sovereign, and 
secondly, the Government established by law in British India. 
The words, "Her Majesty," are used in the section to denote 
the Queen, and " the word ' Queen ' denotes the Sovereign for the 
time being of the United Kingdom of Great Biitain and Ireland," 
as defined in the Penal Code (s. 13). " The word 'Government' 
denotes the person or persons authorized by law to administer 
executive government in any part of British India" (s. 17). 

Justice Batty in citing this definition (8 Bom. L. R., p. 438) 
observed: — "What is contemplated under the section is the 
collective body of men — the Government, defined under the 
Penal Code. That does not mean the person or persons for the 
time being. It means the person or persons collectively, in 
succession, who are authorised to administer government for 
the time being. One particular set of persons may be open to 
objection, and to assail them and to attack them and excite 
hatred against them is not necessarily exciting hatred against 
the Government, because they are only individuals, and are 
not representatives of that abstract conception which is called 
Government. The individual is transitory and may be se- 
parately criftcised, but that which is essentially and inseparably 



WHAT IS SEDITION. 83 

•connected with the idea of the Government established by law 
•cannot be attacked without coming within this section." 

In other words, Government is the abstract conception of 
British rule in India, as represented by the collective body of 
persons who are entrusted with its administration. To attack 
any individual member of that body in his private capacity 
might amount to a common libel, within the meaning of section 
499 of the Penal Code ; but to attack the Government itself 
through its official representatives, with seditious intent, would 
be an offence within the meaning of section 124 A. 

Justice Strachey, in Tilak's case, stated his conception 
•of the term as follows : — "It means, in my opinion, British rule 
and its representatives as such — the existing political system 
as distinguished from any particular set of administrators." 

This distinction was also pointed out by Sir C. Petheram, 
•C. J., in the Banyobasi case, where he said : — " British India is 
part of the British Empire, and is governed like other parts 
of the Empire by persons to whom the power is delegated for 
that purpose. There is a great difference between dealing with 
Government in that sense and dealing with any particular ad- 
ministration." 

These views are much in accord with the older conception 
of government evinced in the dicta of Lord Holt and Lord 
Ellenborough (see Ch. in). 



CHAPTER IX. 

CRIMINAL LIABILITY. 

The next point to be considered is the persons who may 
incur liability under section 12 iA. In other words who can be- 
included under the comprehensive term " WTioever." Now 
as regards ' words spoken,' it is clear that the speaker himself 
is responsible for the language which he uses. But in 
the case of 'words written,' or matter disseminated through 
the Press, or by ' signs,' or ' visible representation,' a variety of 
persons may incur liability. It may be said briefly that all 
persons who wittingly take part, whether actively oi passively, 
in the dissemination of seditious matter are responsible, in pro- 
portion to the part taken by them. 

The principles of joint criminal liability are laid down by the- 
Indian Penal Code in sections 34 — 37. They may, for convenience,, 
be paraphrased thus : — When a criminal act is done by several 
persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, or when 
an offence is composed of several acts, which are committed, 
either singly or jointly, by several persons, each of the persons 
who so co-operates, intentionally, in the commission of such 
criminal act or offence, is liable individually for the commission 
of it, as though he had done it alone. But this, again, is subject 
to the limitation that, when criminal knowledge or intention is 
an essential element in the offence committed, the persons who 
join in the commission of it must be shown to have such 
knowledge or intention before they can be held liable. 

These are but the principles of the English law relating to> 
the joint liability of persons who participate in the commission 
of a felony. " If t\vo persons," said Erskine, <T., in R. v. Hurse 
(2 M. & Rob., 360), " having jointly prepared counterfeit-coin, 
planned the uttering, and went on a joint expedition and 
uttered, in concert and by previous arrangement, the different 
pieces of coin, then the act of one would be the act of both, though 
they might not be proved to be actually together at each 
littering" (Russell). 



CRIJIINAL LIABILITY. . 85 

In the Bmnjohasi case, where the proprietor, the editor, 
the manager and the printer were together placed on their trial 
in respect of the seditious articles charged (see Ch. iv), Sir C. 
Petheram, C. J., was of opinion that, whoever the writer might 
be, 'the persons \\\\o used them for the purpose of exciting dis- 
affection' were guilty under the section. 

In Tilak's case ( see Ch. v) Justice Strachey referring to 
these observations said : — ' ' It has been held by the late Chief 
Justice of Calcutta, Sir Comer Petheram, that it is not only the 
writer of the alleged seditious article, but whoever uses in any 
way words or printed matter for the purpose of exciting feelings 
of disaffection to the Government that is liable under the section, 
whether he is the actual author or not; and I entirely agree with 
him." 

In this case the two accused were respectively the pro- 
prietor, editor and publisher, and the acting manager and printer 
of the Kesari. On the question of their individual responsi- 
bility for the publication of the articles the learned Judge said : — 
' ' The prisoner Tilak is the proprietor and editor of that paper 
and he is also the publisher. He has not attempted to dispute 
that, but has admitted it. He has also in his statement before 
the committing Magistrate, admitted that he was cognisant of 
the fact that the paper was despatched to various places, includ- 
ing Bombay. It is further in evidence that before any matter 
is published in the Kesari, proofs are submitted to him. Upon 
the evidence you W'ould be justified in holding that he is the pub- 
lisher of this paper, and also the publisher of these particular 
articles in the paper." 

This evidence in the opinion of the learned Judge was 
sufficient to fix the accused with responsibility qua publisher, 
but in addition to this he had signed a declaration as such under 
Act XXV of 1867 (see Appx.) and the declaration was in evidence. 
"Under that Act," the learned Judge continued, "in the 
absence of any evidence to the contrary, you will be justified in 
Tiolding that the prisoner Tilak was the publisher of every article 
and every word in the Kesari. He published it through his 
servants, and it must be taken as a fact, until the contrary is 
proved, that he authorised them not only to print it, but to give 
it out to the world and to distribute it in Poona and various 



^6 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

other places, among them being Bombay." Upon these facts 
Tilak was found guilty. 

Tlie case of the other accused was different. He was the- 
head printer in charge of the Arya Bhushan Press at which both 
the Kesari and the MnhraUa were printed. He was at the time 
the acting manager and printer of the Kesari, but not its regis- 
tered printer. It was not his business to correct proofs, but 
merely to receive and pass them on to a proof corrector, who in 
turn submitted them to Tilak. ' ' That being the state of facts,"' 
said his lordship, " how have you to deal with the question of. 
his responsibility '( You has'e to deal with it in this way. 
As he was the manager and superintendent in bringing out the' 
matter — which was ditsinct from having a control over the li- 
terary department — as he was printer of it, you may presume that 
he was acquainted with what he was printing and distributing. 
You have to find whether ho authorised the insertion of these 
articles or their distribution. It is a pure question of fact. If 
you are not satisfied that the prisoner was cognisant of the parti- 
cular articles, or that he directed or authorised the insertion or 
distribution of them, then I will advise you to find him not guilty,, 
because you must have regard to die section which requires dis- 
tinct proof by the Crown against him. You must be satisfied 
that for printing or using the words that were published he was 
responsible, and that he used those words for the purpose of ex- 
citing disaffection. If you come to the conclusion that he knew 
nothing about these articles, then it is a question for you to con- 
sider whether you can properly say that he used those words 
with that purpose in his mind. It is entirely for you to consider 
whether you believe his uncontradicted statement that he was 
absolutely ignorant of what appeared in those articles." Upon 
these facts the jury found the second accused not guilty. 

From so lucid an exposition of the [aw it is abundantly clear 
that where publication is unquestioned or beyond controversy, the 
only question left to be decided is the meaning of the language 
employed. On the meaning will depend the intention, and if 
the Court, whether judge or jury, comes to the conclusion that 
the words used are calculated to excite disaffection, there is an 
end of the matter. ¥, on the other hand, publication is denied, 
and there has been no declaration, the individual responsibility 



CRIMINAL LIABILITY. 87 

of each accused will have to be established by distinct evidence, 
in the usual manner. 

In the Full Bench case of Ramchandra Narayan (see 
Ch. vi), otherwise known as the ' Satara case,' the two accused 
were respectively the editor and the proprietor of a newspaper 
called the Praiod. The defence set up by each is briefly 
summarised by Sir C. Farran, C. J., as follows : — " It is not 
denied that the first accused Ramchandra Narayan is criminally 
responsible for the publication of the libel, if its contents 
contrav^ene the provisions of section 124A of the Penal Code ; 
but for him it has been contended that the libel does not 
transgress the law enacted in that section. The same conten- 
tion has been made on behalf of th« accused No. 2 ; but in 
his case the defence has also been urged that although he is 
the registered printer and publisher of the Pratod newspaper, 
he had ceased to take any part in its management long before 
the publication of the libel, and that he is not criminally 
responsible for its publication, even though seditious matter is 
contained in it. ' ' 

As the article was found to be seditious the conviction of 
the first accused was duly afiirmed. "As to the second ac- 
cused," his lordship continued, "he is admittedly the proprie- 
tor of the Pratod. He is its declared printer and publisher. 
Prima facie, therefore, he is responsible for what is published in 
it. When the prosecution has proved these facts, the onus is 
thrown upon the accused to rebut the inference whch arises 
from them. Ramasami v. Lokanada (9 Mad., 387) is, I think, 
an authority in favour of this view of the law. I think that its 
reasoning is applicable to a prosecution under section 124A. 
From his own statement, corroborated as it is by the evidence of 
some of the witnesses for the prosecution, I think it is establish- 
ed that the accused No. 2 now leaves the general management 
of the Pratod to the first accused, but I am not satisfied that he 
is not from day to day cognisant of the more important matters 
which appear in it. This being so I am not prepared to upset 
the conviction in his case. His offence appears, however, to 
me to have consisted rather in passively acquiescing in, and neg- 
ligently allowing the publication of the libel in question than in 
actively directing it." 



88 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

The case cited by his lordship was one which came up for 
revision before the Chief Justice of Madras and Justice Mutta- 
sami Ayyar. The Sessions Judge of Tanjore had set aside a 
conviction by a Magistrate for defamation on the ground of want 
of proof of publication. " All that is alleged," he said in his 
judgment, " is that the accused was technically the publisher 
for the purposes of Act XXV of 1867, not that he actually knew of 
the publication." In reversing this order. Sir A. Collins, C J., 
said : — ' ' It is no doubt true that in order to sustain a conviction 
for defamation, it must be shownthatthere was a publication by the 
accused in fact. But the Judge has apparently overlooked 
the provisions of section 7 of Act XXV of 1867 " (see Appx.). 

His lordship after citing the section proceeded : — ' ' This 
Act was passed, like 38 Geo. Ill, c. 78, s. 14, for the purpose 
of preventing the mischief arising from printing and publishing 
newspapers by persons not known, and it was intended to 
facilitate proceedings, civil and criminal, against the persons 
concerned in such publications. The intention was to constitute 
the declaration into prima facie evidence of publication, and 
thereby throAv on the accused the burden of showing that the 
actual publisher of the libel was not the person mentioned in 
the declaration. The declaration was then prima jacie evidence 
of publication by the accused, and if no contrary evidence was 
produced, or if the contrary evidence produced by him was not 
true, as held by the Magistrate in this case, it became conclusive 
so as to sustain the conviction." 

A declaration under section 5 may of course be withdrawn 
under section 8, by means of a fresh declaration, and the pro- 
duction of a copy of the latter would be a complete answer to the 
former. But, unless and until it is withdrawn, it would be good 
ev^idence of publication, and sufficient to cast on the accused 
the burden of proving his want of complicity. It would, more- 
over, have to be met by reliable evidence. 

As to what would be sufficient to rebut the evidence of a 
declaration, his lordship observed : — " It was then urged for the 
petitioner that it was not sufficient for the accused to show 
that the libel M^as published without his knowledge or privity, 
but^^that he must go further and prove that the publication did 



CRIMINAL LIABILITY. 



89 



not also arise from want of due care or caution on his part, and 
our attention was called to the provisions of 6 and 7 Vic. c. 96, a. 7. 
It was pointed out by Lush, J., in The Queen v. Holhrooh (4 
•Q. B. D., 42) that under the Common Law of England the pro- 
prietor of a newspaper was criminally responsible for the publica- 
tion of a libel in its columns, whether the libel was inserted 
with or without his knowledge, that the intention of the 
Legislature in passing the Statute 6 and 7 Vic. c. 96, was to 
-mitigate the rigour of the Common Law, and to give the pro- 
prietor the benefit of the presumption that, when a person 
employs another to do a lawful act, he is taken to authorise him 
to do it in a lawful and not in an unlawful manner, and that the 
Statute declared for that purpose that it was competent to the 
proprietor to prove that the libel was published without his au- 
thority, consent, or knowledge, and that the publication did not 
arise from want of due care or caution on his part. In substance 
the Statute modified the grounds on which the proprietor was 
criminally liable for a libel published in his paper according to 
the Common Law of England. But we cannot hold that the pro- 
visions of that Statute are applicable to this country, and we must 
determine, whether the accused is, or is not, guilty of defama- 
tion with reference to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code. 
We consider that it would be a sufficient answer to the charge in 
this country if the accused showed that he entrusted in good faith 
the temporary management of the newspaper to a competent 
person during his absence, and that the libel was published with- 
out his authority, knowledge, or consent." 

This important decision was followed again by the Bombay 
High Court a few years later. In the year 1899 two notable trials 
(already referred to) were held before Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., pro- 
bably the first to take place after the legislation of 1898, which 
are very fully reported in the Bombay Ijaw Reporter (Vol. II 
pp. 286 — 322). Both trials arose out of certain seditious articles 
V hich appeared in a vernacular newspaper, published in Bombay, 
lalled the GurakJii. In the first, Queen-Empress v. Luxman, the 
accused was the sub-editor of the paper, and there was direct 
evidence to show that he was also the writer of the articles in 
c|uestion. Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., in his charge to the jury, thus 
describes it: — " The evidence before vou is to the effect that 



90 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

this man composed the articles ; that they were written out by 
him ; that they were handed over by him for publication ; and 
that they were subsequently printed." " If you believe that 
evidence," his lordship added, "there is sufficient to justify 
you in holding that there Avas a case within the terms of the 
section." The prisoner was found guilty. 

In the second case, Queen- Empress v. VinayeJc, the accused 
was the proprietor, editor, printer, and publisher of the GurakJii. 
In dealing with the question of his responsibility for the publica- 
tion of the articles charged as seditious, his lordship said : — ' ' It is 
not disputed that the accused is the publisher of the paper, and 
you have evidence before you to the effect that he is its proprietor 
and editor and manager. . His relation, therefore, to the paper 
in which the articles appeared is such that he clearly comes within 
that rule which makes a man prima facie liable for what appears 
in his paper. A publisher is prima facie liable for that which 
appears in his paper, and if he seeks to get rid of that liability 
the onus lies on him. It is for him to prove such circumstances 
as would justify him in asking you not to fasten responsibility 
on him. It will be for the accused to convince you on the evi- 
dence before the Court, by the probabilities of the case, that 
his prima facie liability is displaced. What is necessary for him 
to establish at least is this : that the paper was published without 
his knowledge, authority, or consent, and without any acquies- 
cence or connivance on his part. The case he has asked you to 
believe is that at the time the last two articles were published 
he was not in Bombay. Mere absence itself is obviously insuffi.- 
cient to constitute an answer to the charge. There must be 
more than that. Nor is it enough that he should show merely 
a want of particular authority. It is not enough for him to say •: 
' I never authorised the publication of this particular article.' 
And in this connection I will read what has been said by a very 
eminent Judge." His lordship then cited the observations of Sir 
Alexander Cockburn, C. J., in Req- v. Holhrooh.{i Q. B. D., 42> 
as follows : — "'Where a general authority is given to, aa 
editor to publish libellous matter at liis discretion it will avail a 
proprietor nothing to show that he had not authorised the 
publication of the libel complained of.' " The prisoner was 
found guilty. 



CRIMINAL LIABILITY. 91' 

In the case of Emperor v. Bhashar (8 Bom. L. R., 421), 
the accused was proprietor, editor, and publisher of a Mara- 
thi newspaper called the Bhala, in which there had appeared 
the celebrated article entitled ' A Durbar in Hell.' He had 
made a declaration as publisher of the paper under Act XXV 
of 1867, s. 5. He admitted publication, but denied the author- 
ship of the article in question. He also admitted responsibility 
but pleaded ignorance of the character of the article, and the ab- 
sence of any evil intention. On the question of responsibility 
Justice Batty charged the jury as follows : — " It is not sufficient 
for a person who has published matter calculated to excite hatred, 
contempt, or disaffection, to say : ' This is not my work,' because, 
the adoption of the means, the publishing thereof, was in itself 
his work ; therefore it is that the printer or publisher of an article 
which is open to these objections is always to be held liable. In 
the Madras case which has been cited to you it was held that a 
declaration under s. .5 of Act XXV of 1867 (an Act requiring all 
printers and publishers to register their names), in the absence of 
proof to the contrary, is proof of publication by the person making 
the declaration, unless he can prove that the matter was published 
in his absence and without his knowledge, and that he had in 
good faith entrusted the temporary management of his business 
to a competent^ person. That is to say for every thing that 
appears in his paper the editor, printer, or publisher is as responsi- 
ble as if he had written the article himself." 

"No doubt," his lordship added, "circumstances may con- 
siderably mitigate the penalty which has to be imposed. But his 
liability to conviction under the section is not affected by the cir- 
cumstance that the publisher who used the words did not originate 
them." He then cited the dictum of Sir C. Petheram, C. J., 
quoted above : "" ^Vhoever the composer might be, whoever wrote 
or cau.sed it to be written, the person who used it for purposes of 
exciting disaffection is guilty of an offence under section 124A." 
The same principles bad been laid down by Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., in 
the case of Queen -Empress v. Vinaych, and his lordship proceeded 
to cite also the passage quoted above to the jury. In conclu- 
sion Justice Batty observed :— " The same rule of law obtains in 
England, and I think you will recognise how very necessary it 
is to make responsible the editor or publisher who gives forth to 



"92 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

the whole world articles which are of a dangerous character." 
The jury found the prisoner guilty, and he was sentenced 
to six months' imprisonment and a fine of one thousand 
rupees. 

It is difficult to reconcile these weighty observations on the 
efficacy of Act XXV of 1867 with the views expressed in the case 
oi Apurba Krislmo Base V. Emperor (35 Cal. at p. 155), as to the 
inefficacy of the same measure. The learned Judges v»'ho 
decided that case, in dismissing the petition of the printer of 
the Bande Matarnm. said: — "Forty years ago it was never 
anticipated that a mere printer would be punished, with the aid 
of the Act, for the publication of seditious matter," without 
regard to the fact apparently that the mere v-riter of seditious 
matter could not be punished at all, unless and until it was 
published. 

" It is unfortunate," the learned Judges continued, "that 
the person or persons really responsible for these sedition ■; 
utterances remain undetected." It is difficult to see why they 
should remain undetected — either with or without the aid f>f 
the Act — having regard to the large number of convictions of 
really responsible persons which are reported to have taken 
place between the years 1897 and 1906. Strangely enough 
the only case of acquittal reported during that period wa-i 
that of the unregistered acting printer of the Kesari in Tilak's 
case. The learned Judges conclude in the full assurance that 
the Act will be amended so as to reach the more guilty 
persons, but as no suggestion is offered as to how this can be 
done, the problem remains unsolved. It is by no means easy 
to conjecture how the benefits of registration under the Act 
could be extended to the casual contributor and the unknown 
journalist, however guilty they might be. 

Act XXV of 1867, however, seems to have received mor . 
considerate treatment the following year, in the same High Cour. . 
at the hands of Justice Rampini, A. C. J. This was in the 
case of Emperor v. Phanendra Nath Mitter (35 Cal., 945). 
■commonly known as the Jugantar case. The accused was the 
printer of the newspaper known by that name. In this case 
the accused had withdrawn his declaration, under section 8, 



CRIMINAL LIABILITY. 95 

but the seditious articles had appeared in the paper a few day& 
before the revocation. The presumption raised by section 7 was 
duly applied by the learned Judge, in the manner prescribed by 
the Madras High Court, in the case of Ramasami v. Lokanada. 

His lordship is reported to have approved of the ruling in 
that case, but to have dissented from the observations in Tilak's 
case. The point of difference is not stated, so that it is difficult 
to say what it is — the more so as the two rulings appear to be in 
complete harmony. With respect to Tilak's case the learned 
Judge is reported to have charged the jury, as follows : — " It 
is an old case, as it is a case under the Indian Penal Code, before 
it was altered by the legislation of 1897 :" meaning, no doubt, 
the legislation of 1898, but apparently overlooking the fact that 
the law had not been really altered, not at least, so as to affect 
the liability of printers. 

Then in the next sentence, his lordship is reported to have- 
said : — " This is a case in w'hich the provisions of section 7 of 
Act XXV of 1867 have not been considered." With due 
respect to the learned Judge, it might be safe to assert that the 
reverse of that proposition would have been nearer the facts, 
for it will be found on reference that the provisions of section 
7 of that Act were not only considered, but cited by Justice 
Strachey, who after commenting on them, explained their effect 
to the jury in the plainest terms (see ante). 

There is, however, one point in his lordship's charge that 
may be referred to with advantage in this connection. It is 
contained in the suggestion that the knowledge of three previous 
convictions against former printers of the same paper for sedition,, 
as well as a previous prosecution against himself, were sufficient 
to destroy the hona fides of his plea of absence, and to raise the 
inference that he went away for the purpose of shirking liability, 
and not in good faith. The jury found the prisoner guilty. 

The same principles have been followed in two unreported 
decisions of the Calcutta High Court (see C/i. xiv). These were 
the appeals of Surendra Prasad Lahiri v. Emferor (No. 497 of 
1910) and Joy Chandra Hirhar v. Emperor (No. 509 of 1910). The 
former was the declared printer and publisher, and the latter the 
proprietor and editor of a vernacular newspaper called the 



94 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Rungpur Bartabaha. The printer relied merely on a plea of 
absence, while the editor denied all knowledge or responsibility, 
and pleaded further that the articles charged were not seditious. 
Both convictions were affirmed. 

The same views were adopted by the Chief Court of the 
Punjab in 1904 in the case of Bam Nath (6 P. L. R.,259). 

It has already been seen that the mere writing of seditious 
matter without publication would be no ofl'ence. Just as a 
man might think what he liked, so long as he did not preach sedi- 
tion to others, so a man might write what he liked, so long as he 
did not communicate whac he wrote to any one. The offence 
clearly lies in communicating seditious thoughts to other 
people, by any means, for the purpose of creating disaffection. 

Now this would seem to hold good even if the seditious writing 
came to be published inadvertently, but through no fault of the 
WTiter. The illustration lies in the somewhat extreme case put 
by Lord Esher in Pullman v. Hill (1891, 1 Q. B., 527) where he 
said : — ' ' What is the meaning of pviblication ? The making 
known the defamatory matter after it has been written. If the 
writer of a letter locks it up in his own desk, and a thief comes and 
breaks open the desk, and takes away the libel and makes its 
contents known I should say there would not be a publication." 
In such a case if mischief ensued from publication the writer 
could hardly be made responsible, for it would not be 
his act. 

But, on the other hand, it is difficult to conceive a journalist 
writing a seditious article except for the purpose of publica- 
tion, and, in the event of its taking place through inadver- 
tence or by mistake, the onus woidd be on him to prove the 
fact. Section 114 of the Evidence Act provides that — " The 
Court may presume the existence of any fact which it thinks 
likely to have happened, regard being had to the common course 
of natural events, human conduct, and public and private 
business, in relation to the facts of the particular case:" e.g., 
" that the common course of business has been followed in parti- 
cular cases." There would certainly be a strong presumption in 
favour of a journalist intending to publish what he had written, 
and of authorising its publication if it were published. 



CRIMINAL LIABILITY. 9i) 

"If a person," says Mr. Mayne, in his 'Criminal Law of 
"India,' " writes seditious words, intending them to be published, 
and they are afterwards published, though in a different way, 
and to a greater extent than he had contemplated, this completes 
his offence. It is also to be remembered that the act of publica- 
tion is complete as soon as the contents of the writing have been 
communicated to any person.' ' From this it would appear that 
if an intention to publish can be established, it makes no difference 
whether the original object is attained or not, so long as it is com- 
municated in some way, so as to be likely to excite disaffection. 

It is important to consider also, in this connection, the 
liability of a somewhat different class of j)ersons, who may, wit- 
tingly or unwittingly, become the medium of publication of sediti- 
ous matter. These are the booksellers and newsvendors through 
whose hands dissemination is usualh'^ effected. 

" Every sale, or delivery of a written or printed copy of a 
libel is a fresh publication " (Odgers). The law as to this was 
very clearly laid down in the case of R. v. Almon (5 Burr., 2686). 
Almon, who was a bookseller, had been convicted of selling u 
publication known as ' Junius's Letters,' and moved for a new 
trial on the ground of the want of any proof against him of 
criminal intention or knowledge as to the sale of the books. On 
the motion it was alleged — ' ' That he was not at home when 
they were sent to his shop. That the whole number sent to his 
shop was 300. That about 67 of them had been sold there, by a 
boy in the shop, but without Almon's own knowledge, privity, or 
approbation. That as soon as he discovered it, he stopped the 
gale." These facts, however, do not appear to have been 
established by Almon at the trial. One of the jurymen pro- 
pounded the following question to the Judge : — " Whether the 
bare proof of the sale in Almon's shop, without any proof of pri- 
vity, knowledge, consent, approbation, or malus animus, in 
Alnion himself, was sufficient in law to convict him crimiually 
of publishing a libel ?" Lord Mansfield replied " that this 
was conclusive evidence." At the hearing of the motion his 
lordship explained this in these terms :—" Mr. Mackworth's 
doubt seemed to be ' whether the evidence was sufficient to 
convict the defendant, in case he believed it to be true.' And 



96 THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

in this sense I answered it. Pritnd jacie 'tis good, and remains- 
so till answered. If it is believed, and remains unanswered, it 
becomes conclusive." 

His lordship then proceeded to expound the law further, as^ 
follows : — " The buying the pamphlet in the public open shop of a 
known professed bookseller and publisher of pamphlets, of a 
person acting in the shop, prima facie is evidence of a publication 
by the master himself, but that is liable to be contradicted, when 
the fact will bear it, by contrary evidence tending to exculpate the 
master, and to show that he was not privy nor assenting to it, 
nor encouraging it." 

In this view of the law the Judges iinanimously concurred. 
Justice Aston, in particular, laid down the same maxim, as 
being fully and clearly established, in these terms : ' ' This frimd 
facie evidence (if believed), is binding till contrary evidence be 
produced. Being bought in a bookseller's shop, of a person 
acting in it as his servant, is such ■prima facie evidence of its 
being published by the bookseller himself : he has the profits of 
the shop, and is answerable for the consequences. If he had a 
sufficient excuse he might have shown and proved it." 

These principles were formulated by Statute seventy year* 
later. Lord Campbell's Act (6 & 7 Vic, c. 96, s. 7) provides 
that whenever, upon the trial of an indictment for a libel, " evi- 
dence shall have been given which shall establish a presumptive 
case of publication against the defendant by the act' of any other 
X^erson by his authority, it shall be competent to such defendant 
to prove that such publication was made without his authority, 
consent or knowledge, and that the said publication did not arise 
from want of due care or caution on his part." 

And so, in a more recent case, where the defendants were 
newsvendors, and sold in the ordinary course of business copies 
of a newspaper which contained a libel, and there was evidence 
to show that they were ignorant of the character of the paper 
and of the existence of the libel, and that there was no negligence 
or want of care on their part, it was held that they ' ' had not 
published the libel, but had only innocently disseminated it" 
(Emniem v. Pottle (C. A.) 16 Q. B. D., 354). 

And so also where the defendants were the Trustees of the 
British Museum \\huse duty it was to receive copies of all 



CRIMINAL LIABILITY. 97 

publications for the Library, and to supply ^them to readers 
through their librarians, it was held that they could not be made 
liable if such books happened to contain libels. ' ' It would be 
different,' ' said Baxon Pollock, ' ' if the books were sold across the 
counter, or delivered to be sold in the street. It was laid down, 
on the ground of social policy, that if a man chose to sell books or 
papers he must take the consequences of his acts, if he knew 
that they contained libellous matter:" {Martiyi v. Trustees of 
the British Museum, 10 Times L. R., 338). 

The Madras High Court, it is true, have held, in the case of 
Ramasami v. Lohanada (9 jVTad., 387) already referred to above, 
that Lord Campbell's Act has no application to India, but they 
have themselves laid down very similar principles to be observed 
in cases of innocent publication, and these may be adopted 
instead (see ante). 



D, LS 



CHAPTER X. 

WHAT IS NOT SEDITION. 

Thk latter part of section 124A, which is comprised in the 
second and third Explanations, states in express terms what is 
to be excluded from the purview of the first part. 

The substance of these two Explanations may be conveni- 
ently formulated thus : — 

' Comments expressing disapprobation of — 

{a) the measures of the Grovernment, with a view to obtain 

their alteration by lawful* means, or 
(6) the administrative or other action of the Govern- 
ment, 

without exciting or attempting to excite harted, contempt or 
disafEection, do not constitute an offence under this section.' 
The object of the provision contained in clause (6), as has 
been already pointed out, was to include comments upou past 
action of the Government which was irrevocable. The former 
explanation which, as will be remembered, had given rise to 
misconceptions in more than one trial, was recast in 1898. In 
its present form its meaning is clearer, though its purpose is 
still the same. 

In commenting on this branch of the section, inTilak's case. 
Justice Strachey said : — " You Viirobserve that the section con- 
sists of two parts : first, a general clause, and then an explanation. 
The object of the explanation is a negative one, to show that 
certain acts which might otherwise be regarded as exciting or 
attempting bo excite disaffection are not to be so regarded." 

" The object of the explanation," he continued, "is to 
protect honest journalism and bond fide criticisrns of public measures 
and institutions, with a view to their improvement, and to the 
remedying of grievances and abuses ; and to distinguish this 
from attempts, whether open or disguised, to make the people 
hate their rulers. So long as a journalist observes this distinc- 
tion, he has nothing to fear." 



WHAT IS NOT SEDITION. 99 

" It seems to me," he added, "that this view of the law 
secures all the liberty which any reasonable man can desire, 
and that to allow more would be culpable weakness, and fatal 
to the interests not only of the Government but of the people." 

An analysis of this branch of the section reveals the fact 
that it is composed of two essential elements. The first is that 
the matter in question must in fact consist of comments, and, 
secondly, that the disapprobation which they may express shall 
be within certain limits. 

This again has been expounded by Justice Strachey in 
the clearest terms as follows : — " The most important point 
for you to bear in mind is that the thing protected by 
the explanation is ' the making of comments on the measures 
of the Government ' with a certain intention. This shows 
that the explanation has a strictly defined and limited 
scope. Observe that it has no application whatever unless 
you can come to the conclusion that the writings in ques- 
tion can fairly and reasonably be construed as ' the making 
■of comments on the measures of Government.' It does not 
apply to any sort of writing except that. It does not apply to 
any writing which consists not merely of comments upon 
Government measures, but of attacks upon the Government 
itself. It would apply to any criticisms of legislative enactments, 
such as the Epidemic Diseases Act, or any particular tax, or 
of administrati\'e measures, such as the steps taken by the 
Government for the suppression of plague or famine. But 
if you come to the conclusion that these writings are an attack 
not merely upon such measures as these, but upon the Govern- 
ment itself, its existence, its essential characteristics, its motives 
or its feelings towards the people, then you must put aside the 
explanation altogether, and apply the first part of the section." 

It will thus be seen, in the first place, that the protection 
afforded by the second branch of the section is only extended 
to what may be legitimately called " comments " on the action 
of the Government. If the matter in question is really only an 
attack on the Government itself, under the guise of criticism, 
the saving clause would have no application at all. 

Then, in the second place, the disapprobation expressed in 
the comments, if in fact they be such, is strictly circumscribed. 



100 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

It is subject to the restiictions imposed by the first part of the 
section, and if it violates these it is sedition. It must not excite,. 
or tend to excite, disaffection. 

The distinction between exciting "disapprobation" and 
exciting "disaffection" has been also very clearly demonstrated 
by Justice Strachey, as follows : — ' ' This distinction is the 
essence of the section. It shows clearly what a public speaker 
or writer may do, and what he may not do. A man may 
criticise or comment upon any measure or act of the Govern- 
ment, whether legislative or executive and freely express his 
opinion upon it. He may express the strongest condem- 
nation of such measures and he may do so severely, and even 
unreasonably, perversely and unfairly. So long as he confines 
himself to that he will be protected by the explanation. But 
if he goes beyond that, and, whether in the course of comments 
upon measures or not, holds up the Government itself to the 
hatred or contempt of his readers — as, for instance by attri- 
buting to it every sort of evil misfortune suffered by the people, 
or dwelling adversely on its foreign origin and character, or 
imputing to it base motives, or accusing it of hostility or . 
indifference to the welfare of the people — then he is guilty under 
the section, and the explanation will not save him." 

In this connection the observations of Sir L. Jenkins, C. J.^ 
at the trial of Vinayek (2 Bom. L. R., 307) must be referred to. 
His Lordship's remarks have reference to the explanation after 
it was recast in 1898, and were as follows : — "It has always been 
the policy, and is the policy of the law to allow free criticism, 
and almost, one may say, unrestrained criticism and comment 
on officers of State, on Judges, on measures of Government, and 
on Government itself, but it is subject to this qualification that 
this freedom must not be abused, so as to become a source of 
danger to the State. It is only when a man oversteps these 
very wide bounds and limits that he brings himself within the 
reach of the law. With a view to securing this freedom and 
liberty the second and third explanations have been framed, 
from which you will see that measures of administration and 
other action of Government are open to an expression of disap. 
probation, subject only to this that if the expression of dis- 
approbation evidences an attempt to excite feelings hostile to 



WHAT IS NOT SEDITION. 101 

Government, of the kind indicated in the section, then its author 
is liable to be punished." 

Similar views were expressed by Justice Batty, a few years 
later, in the case of Emperor v. Bhaskar (8 Bom. L. R., 441). 
*' Changes in policy," he said, "and changes in measures 
are liable to criticism, and to criticise and urge objections to 
them is the special right of a free Press in a free country. The 
British nation has always specially boasted that it had a free 
Press, but the freedom of that Press is conditional upon one 
thing ; every liberty is given to all men to express their opinions 
so long as they do not misuse or abuse that power to the injury 
of others, including among injuries to others, injury to the State. 
It is onl}'' on that condition that it is possible to have a free 
Press." 

It is the same in England (see Chs. ii — in). 

It may be said, then, that the second branch of section 124 A 
which is comprised in the second and third explanations 
prescribes the limits of free criticism by speech or pen, in terms 
which are no longer ambiguous. The restrictions imposed have, 
moreover, been so clearly explained by judicial authority, that 
misapprehension is hardly possible. 

In this connection, however, it is necessary to bear in mind 
a fact which has been well established since the days of Lord 
Mansfield. It is that on a charge of seditious libel, the plea 
can never be taken either that the libel was true or for the pub- 
lic benefit. In this respect it differs from a common libel, and 
it is well that it should be so, in the interests of the State. 

This proposition has been stated by Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., 
in Luxman's case (2 Bom. L. R., 298) as follows: — "Even if 
there were a grievance, and even if it could be said that the articles 
are based on that which is true, still if these articles are such 
as to create feelings of hatred, contempt, or disaffection the 
truth would be no answer to the charge, though it might in- 
fluence the measure of punishment which it would be proper 
to inflict. The truth of a grievance constitutes no excuse for 
seditious or criminal publications or writings which it calls into 
existence." 

And so also Sir John Edge, C J., in delivering the opinion of 
the Full Bench in the case of Amba Prasad (see Ch. vii) said : — 



102 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

"'W'hen it is ascertained that the intention of the speaker, 
writer, or publisher, was to excite feelings of disaffection to 
the Government established by law in British India, it is im- 
material whether or not the words spoken, written, or pviblished 
could have the effect of exciting such feelings of disaffection, and 
it is immaterial whether the words were true or were false." 

There are, moreover, certain well-established rules, pres- 
cribed by judicial authority, which are always observed, for 
the construction of seditious matter, and in particular that 
which professes to be merely critical. 

The first is a rule which was laid down in Sullivan's case in 
.1868 by Lord Fitzgerald (see Ch. ii). It is that in forming an 
opinion as to the character of any matter charged as seditious, 
it must be looked at as a whole, freely and fairly, without giving 
undtje weight to isolated passages. 

His lordship charged the jury in these terms : — " In dealing 
with the articles you should not pause upon an objectionable 
sentence here, or a strong word there. It is not mere strong 
language, or tall language, or turgid language that should in- 
fluence you. You should, I repeat, deal with the articles in a 
free, fair, and liberal spirit.'.' 

Sir C. Petheram, C. J., in the Bangohasi case, referred in 
his charge to these weighty observations as follows : — "It will 
be for you to come to a decision on the tone of these articles. 
You must not look to single sentences or isolated expressions, 
but take the articles as a whole, and give them a full, free, and 
generous consideration, as Lord Fitzgerald has said ; and even 
allowing the accused the benefit of a doubt, you will have to say 
whether the articles are fair comments and merely expressions 
of disapprobation, or whether they disclose an attempt to excite 
enmity against the Government." 

Justice Strachey, in Tilak's case, charged the jury in pre- 
cisely similar terms when he said : — " In judging of the intention 
of the writer or publisher, you must look at the articles as a whole 
giving due weight to every part. It would not be fair to judge 
of the intention by isolated passages or casual expressions, with- 
out reference to the context. You must consider each passage 
in connection with the others, and with the general drift of the 
whole. A journalist is not expected to write with the accuracy 



WHAT IS NOT SEDITION. 103 

and precision of a lawyer or a man of science ; he may do him- 
self injustice by hasty expressions out of keeping with the 
general character and tendency of the articles. It is this 
general character and tendency that you must judge the inten- 
tion by, looking at every passage so far as it throws light upon 
this."' 

Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., in Luxman's case (2 Bom. L. R., 298) 
enunciated the same rule in these terms : — "" These three articles, 
or translations of them, have been placed before you, and what 
I shall ask you to do is to read them through yourselves and 
consider them carefully in order to determine what is their true 
construction, what is their real tendency, and what is their 
natural effect upon the minds of those into whose hands they 
come. I must warn you that you must not fasten upon a single 
strong phrase or a single strong word, but you must consider the 
articles as a whole — each article as a whole and all three together 
— and, reading them in a liberal spirit, it will be for you to say 
whether you think there is any doubt that they were in fact an 
attempt to create feelings of hatred, contempt, or disaffection 
against the Government." • 

The meaning of this rule, appears to be, that, in construing 
an article or a speech, due weight must be given to every part, 
and undue weight to none. But this does not mean that par- 
ticular passages, probably couched in stronger language than the 
rest, are therefore to be disregarded. Experience shows that 
particular passages frequently give the whole article or speech 
its character. It often happens, in cases where the meaning 
is studiously veiled, that a particular passage wiJl give the 
necessary clue to a proper construction of language which would 
be otherwise unintelligible. An illustration of this may be 
found in numerous articles which have appeared in the reported 
cases, and notably in an unreported case recently decided in the 
Calcutta High Court (see Chs. xiv — xv), and known as the Rung- 
puT Bartahaha case (App. No. 509 of 1910). 

On the other] hand, it is obvious that the accused must 
not be prejudiced by the improper use of such passages. " It 
would not be fair," as Justice Strachey says, " to judge of 
the intention by isolated passages or casuak expressions without 
reference to the context." But that is quite another thing. 



104 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Another important rule, and one which is invariably put in 
practice in trials for sedition, authorises the use of collateral 
matter, which is not within the charge, for the purpose of show- 
ing the animus of the accused, and of throwing light on the 
meaning of the language employed by him. 

Section 14 of the Evidence Act provides that ' ' Facts show- 
ing the existence of any state of mind — such as intention, know- 
ledge, good faith, negligence, rashness, ill-will or good- will to- 
wards any particular person" — are relevant and may be proved ; 
while illustration (e) of the same says that when "^ is accused 
of defaming B by publishing an imputation intending to harm 
the reputation of B, the fact of previous publications by A res- 
pecting B, showing ill-will on the part of A towards B, is rele- 
vant, as proving A's intention to harm B's reputation by the 
particular publication in question." And so also it is open to 
the defence to prove the contrary for the purpose of showing 
the absence of any such intention. 

In the Bangohasi trial articles were put in on both sides 
for these purposes. In drawing the attention of the jury to 
this Sir C. Petheram, C. J., said : — ' ' The charges are based on 
the five articles which are the subject of the indictment. Other 
articles have been quite properly put in during the trial, but 
no charges are laid in connection with the latter. They were 
put in, some by the prosecution, and some by the defence, to 
prove that their view of the intent of the articles charged was 
indicated in the others." 

In like manner, at the trial of Tilak, extracts were used on 
both sides, not only from the Kesari, but also from the Mahratta 
of which he was likewise the proprietor. Not merely articles, 
but correspondence was thus admitted in evidence. Justice 
Strachey as to this observed: — "I do not think that I can 
exclude the evidence. As in cases of defamation, the proprietor 
and publisher would be liable for articles or letters published 
by him, though purporting to be signed by outsiders, and 
therefore I think that such contributions are admissible to 
show his intention and animus, as well as articles purporting 
to represent the views of the paper. It is, of course, open to 
the accused to put in any contributions of a different tendency 



VVilAT IS NOT SEDITION. 105 

which, he may have published, and so to show that those put 
in by the Crown do not express his intention." 

In the Allahabad case of Amha Prasad (see Ch. vi) Sir John 
Edge, C. J., in delivering the opinion of the Full Bench said : — 
" The intention of a speaker, writer, or publisher, may be 
inferred from the particular speech, article, or letter, or it may 
be proved from that speech, article, or letter considered in 
conjunction with what such speaker, writer, or publisher has 
said, written, or published on another or other occasions." 

The same rule applies when the collateral matter sought 
to be used is contained in speeches, or consists of ' words 
spoken' and not 'written.' 

In the case of Chidambaram Pillai v. Emperor (32 Mad., 
p. 14, see Ch. xii) where the objection was taken by the 
defence that such matter was irrelevant. Sir A. White, C. J., 
and Justice Miller said : — ' ' We are of opinion that where 
there is a series of speeches or lectures on one topic, all 
delivered within a short period of time, one may be considered 
for the purpose of throwing light on the real meaning and 
intent of another, and on the state of mind of the speaker 
with reference to the object matter of the other speeches. 
This principle is recognised in illustration (e) to section 14 of 
the Indian Evidence Act, and has been acted on in cases of 
prosecutions for sedition in all the other High Courts in India." 
Their lordships cited the cases of the Bangohasi, Tilak, and 
the Jugantar, already referred to. 

It may be noted that the method adopted of proving such 
speeches by means of the notes of Police Officers who were 
examined as witnesses in the case was also approved by the 
Court. It was the same in the case of Leakat Hossein Khan 
V. Emperor (App. No. 214 of 1908), which however is un- 
reported (see Ch. xii). In this case the Calcutta High Court 
made use of similar evidence for the purpose of throwing 
light on the meaning of a printed leaflet or circular. The 
appellant who was " a well-known speech maker on Swadeshi 
and similar topics in Calcutta," visited Barisal in Eastern 
Bengal, with the avowed object of circulating a printed leaflet 
among the Mahomedans of that province, and of expounding 
to them the doctrines set forth therein. One of the doctrines 



lOG THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

which the leaflet purported to teach was that accoiding to 
the sacred Koran Mahomedans owed no allegiance to non- 
Moslem rulers. At the appeal it was contended for the prisoner 
that the "allegiance" referred to was intended to mean 
merely a spiritual or religious allegiance, and nothing more. 

The answer to that, in the opinion of the Court, was con- 
tained in the evidence of his speeches "which were certainly 
not concerned only with religious matters, in Calcutta, both 
before and after his visit to Barisal," and in which " he refer- 
red to that visit apparently as part of the work he was then 
engaged on." 

In a more recent case, Emperor v. GanesJi Damodar 
Saoarkar (34 Bom., 394) the same principle has been applied to 
a book of poems, only four, of wliich formed the subject-matter 
of a charge of sedition. On appeal the contention was raised, 
on behalf of the prisoner that none of the four poems charged 
contained anything seditious. Justice Chandavarkar said : — 
" On examining the series of poems in the book, exhibit 6, 
containing the four poems, it appeared to us that there were 
other poems in it besides those four which throw light on the 
intent of the writer ; and that, as the whole book had been 
allowed in the lower Court to go in as evidence, without any 
objection, all the poems in the book could be referred to for 
the purpose of determining the intention, character, and object 
of the poems selected as the basis of the charges. We 
adjourned the hearing for an official translation of the 
whole series of poems in the book into English, and also to 
enable the appellant's legal advisers to argue the appeal with 
reference to the bearing of the whole series on the poems form- 
ing the subject-matter of the charges." 

This principle was also applied in two other cases in the 
Calcutta High Court, viz. : — The cases of the Jugantar (35 Cal,; 
945), and the Riingpur Bartahaha (App. No. 509 of 1910, see 
Ch. xiv). In the latter case three articles were made the 
subject of the charge, whi e six others, taken from the same 
paper, were referred to for the purpose of throwing light on 
the meaning of the first, and of showing the character of the. 
paper and the intention of the writer. 



WHAT IS XOT SEDITION. 



107 



lu cases when the meaniug of the writer is veiled, as it fre- 
quently is, under the cloak of religious rhapsody, it is important 
to ascertain the general tone of the paper, and to see whether 
it is really religious or not. These appear to be the rules for 
the admission of collateral matter and the purposes for which 
it may be used. 

On the other hand the case of Monmohan Ghose (App_ 
No. 744 of 1910), otherwise known as the " Karmajogin case,'» 
affords an instance of the exclusion of such matter from con- 
sideration. In this case the appellant who was the printer 
and publisher of a newspaper, called the Karmajogin, had been 
convicted by the Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta under 
section 124A. The article which formed the subject of the 
charge, the publication of which was not disputed, purported 
to be "an open letter addressed by one Arabindo Ghose to his 
countrymen." For the purpose of elucidating the meaning 
of certain expressions employed in the letter it was sought, on 
behalf of tbe Crown, to refer to other letters or articles which 
had previously appeared in the same paper, and were alleged 
to form part of a series of contributions on similar topics. 
These were excluded by the Court from consideration, on the 
ground, apparently, that the identity of the writer of them 
had not been established. The reasons are set forth in the 
judgment of Justice Holmwood as follows: — "Now in this 
case although the prosecution alleged that a series of articles 
had been written by one individual, and had those articles pro- 
duced by a Police-ofHcer who said that it was his duty to read 
them, and if objectionable to forward them to his superiors, no- 
evidence was offered who that individual was, nor whether all 
the articles were by the same author." 

If, however, the rule laid down by Sir C. Petheram and 
Justice Strachey (see ante) is to be observed, it would appear 
that, where publication is established or not denied, the only 
question left to be determined is, whether the matter published 
is in the opinion of the Court, whether judge or jury, seditious, 
i.e., calculated to excite disaffection, or not, and this without 
regard to its authorship. On this principle evidence was 
admitted in Tilak's case of collateral matter in the shape of 
correspondence. The learned Judge there observed : — " The 



108 THK LAW OF SEDITION. 

publisher would be liable for articles or letters published by 
him, though purporting to be signed by outsiders, and therefore 
I think that such contributioas are admissible to show his 
intention and animus as well as articles purporting to represent 
the views of the paper." And so in the Bangohasi case 
(see Ch. ix), where both printer and publisher were on trial, 
Sir C. Petheram, C. J., observed that if the articles were seditious 
the persons who used them for the purpose of exciting disaffec- 
tion were guilty under the section — whoever the writer might 
be (see Ch. iv). 

In the Karmajogin case, however, the learned Judge went 
on to add : — " It was urged by the learned Advocate-General 
that these articles were admissible under sec. 15 of the Evi- 
dence Act for the purpose of showing that the publication of 
the article before us in this case was not accidental, but that 
has obviously nothing to do with their admissibility for the 
purpose of showing the intention of the writer. In order to 
use them for this purpose it was necessary to show who the 
writer was, and that all the articles produced were by the 
sam_e hand. This not having been done we are compelled 
to take the article before us as it stands, without any of the 
informing commentaries which were sought to be drawn from 
one previous article in particular by the learned Advocate- 
General." 

In view of the authorities referred to above, which have been 
hitherto relied on, it is difficult to see why proof of the identity 
and intention of the writer should be necessary to establish the 
liability of the publisher. It is clear that, if the writer himself 
be on trial, his intention is directly in issue, and if collateral 
matter is then sought to be used for any purpose, its authorship 
must be established, but in this case the publisher alone was 
before the Court. 

It will be observed that most of the matter which has 
hitherto formed the subject of prosecutions for sedition has 
been in the vernacular, which has necessitated the use of 
translations. It is therefore desirable to note what has been 
said by the Courts on this subject. 

Here again, as in so many other instances, .Iiistice Stra- 
chey's memorable charge to the jury in Tilak's case, furnishes 



WHAT IS NOT SEDITION. 109 

most valuable directions. "You have heard," his lordship 
said, " nmch discussion as to the exact meaning of various 
expressions in these articles, and the best way of rendering 
certain passages into English. You must remember that there 
has been a dispute about the correctness of some of the trans- 
lations which have been put before you. For most of you 
the documents that you have to deal with are, in their original 
form, in a foreign language. I do not intend to trouble you 
with any criticism of the various renderings which are in 
evidence. The discussions which have taken place on the sub- 
ject are, 1 assume, within your recollection. They, no doubt 
were necessary and it is important that we should, as far as 
possible, exactly understand the true meaning of everv word 
But it would be a great mistake to let the decision of this case 
turn upon mere verbal niceties of translation, or discussions 
as to the best English equivalents of particular Marathi terms. 
We must look at these articles, not as grammarians or philolo- 
gists might do, but as the ordinary readers of the Kesari would 
look at them — readers who are impressed, not by verbal 
refinements, but by the broad general drift of an article." 

"Two translations," his lordship continued, "have 
been put before you, one of which has been called a free, and the 
other a literal translation. Both are equally o£ficial transla- 
tions. "What I would advise you is that whenever there is no 
dispute about the accuracy of the free translation, where its 
rendering has not been challenged, you should be guided by 
the free translation. It is altogether a mistake to suppose that 
because a translation is literal it is more correct than the trans- 
lation which is called free. It does not follow that the most 
literal translation of a passage is that which best conveys its 
meaning in English. What we want to get at is the way in 
which an ordinary reader would understand the whole article 
and hence to gather the intention with which the article was 
written and published. An absolutely literal translation from 
one language to another may give in the second language an 
extremely imperfect and really inaccurate idea of the meaning 
and spirit of the original. These documents have been trans- 
lated by a translator of the Court; a Hindu gentleman, whose 
capacity to translate cannot for one moment be doubted. 



110 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

The accuracy of his literal rendering of the articles has not been 
challenged by the defence ; but the defence have found fault 
with the free translation as regards certain expressions occur- 
ring in the articles. The free translation does not profess to 
give the absolutely literal meaning of the words, but their 
genuine equivalents in English. As I have said, where the accu- 
racy of the free translation is not disputed, I advise you to be 
guided by that : where there is any dispute I advise you to 
compare the literal with the free translation, to look at the con- 
text of the disputed passage, and to judge, by reference to that, 
which conveys the true meaning and intention. Again, where 
there is a conflict of evidence as to the meaning of a particular 
expression, I would advise you to give, under the usual rule, 
the benefit of any reasonable doubt to the accused." 

From these observations two conclusions are clearly dedu- 
cible. One is that a translation should accurately convey the 
general sense of the original, which is really all that is wanted ; 
and the other, that a free or idiomatic translation is better cal- 
culated to do this than a literal one, and is therefore to be 
preferred. 



CHAPTER XI. 

INCIDENTS AND RULES OF PRACTICE. 

It is a well-established rule thac seditious matter may not 
be reproduced from other publications. This is as much an 
offence as the publication of original matter, presumably 
because in effect it is equally mischievous. The offence lies in 
the publication. This rule was laid down by Lord Fitzgerald in 

Sullivan's case in clear and emphatic language as follows: "As 

to the articles extracted from other papers, it was recently 
contended that even if these articles were of a seditious or 
treasonable character, yet that the defendant was justified in 
publishing them as foreign news. I am bound to warn you 
against this very unsound contention, and I may now tell you 
with the concurrence of my learned colleague, that the law 
gives no such sanction, and does not, in the abstract, justify 
or excuse the republication of a treasonable or seditious article 
no matter from what source it may be taken." 

His lordship then proceeded to state that there miwht be 
circimistances sufficient to rebut the inference of criminal 
intention, but in the absence of such circumstances it vvould be 
reasonable to infer from the fact of republication some seditious 
object. 

"If the law," he added, "be powerless in the case of such 
publications, then we may as well blot out from the Statute book 
the chapter on seditious libel, which would take away from society 
the great protection which the law affords to their institutions. 
You see, therefore, how necessary it is to assert this part of the 
law, and therefore I again emphatically tell you that it is no 
justification or excuse for a publication, treasonable or sedi- 
tious, that it appeared first in another paper, whether local or 
foreign" (see Ch. ii). 

The same principle was applied by the Calcutta High Court 
in the case of Apurba Krishna Bose v. Emperor (35 Cal., 141), 
already referred to,- though apparently on different grounds. 
In that case one of the charges against the accused, who was 



112 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

the priuter of the Bande Mataram, was that he had repub- 
lished in his paper certain official translations of seditious 
matter which had appeared in the Jugantar, another local paper, 
the printer of which was also tried for sedition. 

The articles in question, or one of them, had been the sub- 
ject of the charge against the Jugantar, and the republication 
professed to be a report of the proceedings in that case. The 
rule laid down by Lord Fitzgerald would have been applicable 
here no doubt. The learned Judges, however, who decided the 
case appear to have based their conclusions on the fourth Ex- 
ception to section 499 of the Penal Code which relates to de- 
famation, an oiJeuce which was apparently not charged against 
the accused. They held that the articles in question did not 
" form part of the proceedings of a Court of Justice," because 
' ' the conviction for sedition in the Jugantar case was based on 
one article only." "There was therefore no excuse for the 
wholesale publication iu the Bande Mataram of these transla- 
tions." 

This leaves it doubtful whether the accused would have 
beeu guilty if he had limited himself to the reproduction of 
the single article which formed the subject of the charge in 
the other case, instead of resorting to wholesale publication. 
Nor is it clear whether it may be taken as a rule that exceptions 
to section 499 of the Penal Code can be applied to cases under 
section 124A, when sedition is the only charge against the 
accused. 

The learned Judges conclude their observations in the 
following terms : — "The dissemination of temptation is not 
excusable on any principle with which we are conversant." 
The dissemination of "temptation " is not expressly provided 
for in section 124 A, and it is therefore to be regretted that no 
opinion is expressed as to whether it is within the mischief 
contemplated or not. 

Finally, there are a few points of general importance which 
are usually impressed upon juries in trials for sedition. These 
may be gathered passim from the celebrated charge of Lord 
Fitzgerald iu Sullivan's case (see Ch. ii), but they have also 
been summarioed by Justice Strachey in .Tilak's case in clear 
and precise terms. The learned Judge there said: — "In 



INCIDENTS AND RULES OF PRACTICE. 113 

considering what sort of effect these articles would be likely 
to produce, you must have regard to the particular class of 
persons among whom they were circulated, and to the time and 
other circumstances in which they were circulated. In judg- 
ing what would be the natural and ordinary consequences of a 
publication like this, and what therefore was the probable in- 
tention of the writer or publisher, I must impress on you, as 
perhaps the most important point in my summing up, that you 
must bear in mind the time, the place, the circumstances, and 
the occasion of the publication. " 

"An article," his lordship continued, "which if pub- 
lished in England, or among highly educated people, would pro- 
duce no effect at all — such as an article on cow-killing — might, if 
published among Hindus iu India, produce the utmost possible 
excitement. An article which, if published at a time of profound 
peace, prosperity, and contentment would excite no bad feeling, 
might at a time of agitation and unrest excite intense hatred to 
the Government. When you are considering the probable effect 
of a publication upon people's minds, it is essential to con- 
sider who the people are. In my opinion it would be idle and 
absurd to ask yourselves what would be the effect of these 
articles upon the minds of persons reading them in a London 
drawing-room or in the Yacht Club in Bombay; but what you 
have to consider is their effect, not upon Englishmen or Parsig, 
or even many cultivated and philosophic Hindus, but vipon 
the readers of the Kesari among whom they were circulated and 
read — Hindus, Marathas, inhabitants of the Deccan and the 
Konkan. And you have to consider not only how such articles 
would ordinarily affect the class of persons who subscribed 
to the Kesari, but the state of things existing at the time, when 
these articles were disseminated among them. Then you have 
to look at the standing and position of the prisoner Tilak. He 
is a man of influence and importance among the people. He 
would be iS a position to know what effect such articles would 
probably produce iu their minds." 

The gist of these salutary directions appears to be that in 
order to decide whether any publication is likely to excite dis- 
affection or not, it is necessary to consider all the circumstan- 
ces under which it was published. It is therefore important 

D, LS 8 



114 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

to note the time, the place, and the occasion of its issue ; the 
character of the people who are addressed, and even the posi- 
tion of the writer or speaker, because the effect must inevitably 
vary with the circumstances. 

Moreover, the principle is the same whether sedition is 
preached from the platform or disseminated through the Press. 
" In estimating the natural consequences which will flow from 
|)articular language," says Mr. Mayne, "all the surrounding 
circumstances of the case are material, the excited state of public 
feeling, the ignorant or hostile character of the persons address- 
ed, the critical condition of affairs, and the influence of the 
speaker.' ' These remarks have been approved by the Madras 
High Court in the case of Chidambaram Pillai v. Emperor (32 
Mad., at p. 30). 

The last point to be noticed in the section is the provision 
regarding punishment. No alteration was made as to this by 
Act IV of 1898. It will be observed that three kinds of 
punishment are provided for the offence — transportation, 
imprisonment, and fine. 

Transportation may be for life or any shorter term, but 
not less than seven years (8 W. R., Cr. 2). Imprisonment may 
be of either description, as the Court shall direct (s. 60, P. C), 
but must not exceed three years. It had been proposed to 
extend the term to ten years, but, as has been already pointed 
out, the Select Committee decided to maintain the law as it 
stood. 

Fine may be imposed either alone, or in addition to a sen- 
tence of transportation or imprisonment, and without limit. 

The question of the amount and character of the punish- 
ment, which it is proper to award in any given case, is one of 
no small difficulty. The Code affords no assistance in this 
respect, beyond fixing the maximum penalties. Under these 
circumstances recourse must be had to judicial authority. The 
observations of Sir C. Farran, C. J., in the case of Ramchandra 
Narayan (22 Bom., 152) will afford a valuable guide to the 
solution of the difficulty. The facts of this case have been set 
out in Chapter VI, and his lordship's remarks on the criminal 
liability of the accused in Chapter IX. The two accused had 



INCIDENTS AND RULES OP PRACTICE. 115 

Been sentenced, Ir^spectively, to transportation for life and for 
seven years, by the Sessions Judge. 

His lordship there said:— '^ As to punishment, it should 
in each case be commensurate with ' the offence. As to the 
article itself, there is nothing practical about it. It sets nothing 
tangible before its readers. It is calculated, I think, rather to 
excite unrealisablc dreams — abstract feelings of discontent than 
to spur to immediate action, and I do not think that the other 
articles, put in to show the intent of the writer, carry the case 
any further. This should be taken into consideration. The 
article also does not vituperate the Government at present 
existing. This is, I think, a feature to be borne in mind. It 
appears, after all, in but an obscure paper published in a small 
town, by an obscure person. The circulation of the Pratod is 
very, small. The libel is written at a period when profound 
peace dwells in the land. At the same time the article certainly 
is calculated, and I think intended, to widen the slight breach 
or misunderstanding which in some parts of the country exists 
between the Government and its subjects, when the aim of all 
good writers should be to lessen and to close it. We alter the 
sentence on the first accused to one year's rigorous imprison- 
ment. This will, I think, be commensurate with the offence, 
.and will be amply sufficient to deter other newspaper managers 
from publishing similar articles. The accused No. 2 is an old 
man. His oft'euce is rather one. of negligence in permittinu' the 
publication of the article than of taking an active part in it. 
Three months' simple imprisonment will, I think, be an ade- 
quate punishment in his case — and we alter it accordingly. 
The more severe punishment, which the section admits of, ought, 
in my opinion, to be reserved for a more dangerous class of 
writing published in times of public disturbance." 

To this may be added the remarks of Justice Ranade, in the 
same case, which were as follows : — " The Sessions Judge was 
right in convicting both the accused. At the same time he 
greatly overrated the influence and mischief of the publication. 
The proprietor's responsibility is of a very technical character, 
a,nd even the writer, must be leniently judged because of the 
insignificance of his paper, its small circulation, and his poor, 
■education." ' ' 



116 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

In direct contrast to this is the case of Amba Prasad (20 
All., 55), already referred to (see Ch. vi), where the Sessions 
Judge had imposed a sentence of eighteen months' rigorous 
imprisonment, which the High Court found to be entirely 
inadequate. There the accused had tendered a belated apology, 
but their lordships found "that his object was to excite not 
merely passive disaffection," but "active disloyalty and re- 
bellion." 

"An apology," their lordships added, "particularly 
made after commitment, in such a case as this, need not be 
considered. Having regard to the gravity of the offence which 
Amba Prasad committed, and to the misery, ruin, and punish- 
ment which he might have brought upon ignorant people, the 
sentence which was passed upon him was entirely inadequate." 

These may be taken as typical cases, and from the prin- 
ciples laid down in each, it would appear that the real test to 
be applied, in questions of punishment, is the amount of mis- 
chief which is calculated to result from the commission of the 
offence. This after all is the fairest test that could be employed. 

Some objection was raised in Council to the maximum 
sentence of transportation for life, but it was pointed out by 
the Law Member that a safeguard was provided by an appeal 
to the High Court, and that, in the only case then on record, 
where such a sentence had been imposed by a Sessions Judge, 
the High Court had reduced it. This was the case of Ram- 
chandra Narayan. 

It is to be observed, further, that sentences are regulated, 
by Chapter III of the Criminal Procedure Code, according to 
the jurisdiction of the Courts. An Assistant Sessions Judge 
is not empowered to pass a sentence of transportation exceeding 
seven years. Neither a Chief Presidency Magistrate, a District 
Magistrate, nor a Magistrate of the First Class specially 
empowered to try the case, can pass any sentence of trans- 
portation at all, and their jurisdiction is otherwise limited to 
two years' imprisonment and a fine of one thousand rupees. 

Section 408, cl. (c), provides that an appeal from the con- 
viction of a Magistrate under Section 124 A, shall lie to the 
High Court, but from clause {b) it would seem that an appeal 
from a conviction by an Assistant Sessions Judge would only 



INCIDENTS AND RULES OF PRACTICE. 117 

lie to the High Court if the seateuce passed by him was one of 
transportation or of imprisonment for a term exceeding four 
years. It would otherwise lie to the Court of Session, which 
seems anomalous. 

Section 410 provides that an appeal from a conviction by 
a Session Judge, or an Additional Sessions Judge shall lie to 
the High Court. No other Courts are empowered to try sedition 
cases. So that an appeal would seem to lie to the High Court 
in every case but the one mentioned in section 408. It may 
be. however, that if an Assistant Sessions Judge tried a sedition 
case, he would try it as a Court of Session, in which case section 
410 would apply, and give aright of appeal to the High Court. 

Sedition being an offence against the State no prosecution 
can be instituted except under the authority of the Govern- 
ment. This provision was made in 1870, by section 13 of the 
Act which first introduced the offence into the Penal Code, as 
has been already shown in Chapter II. It was re-enacted in 
1882, and again, at the time of the amendment of the section 
by Act IV of 1898, as section 196 of the present Criminal 
Procedure Code (Act V of 1898). 

" Under Section 196 of the Code." said Justice Strachey 
in Tilak's case, " no Court is to take cognisance of any offence 
punishable under Chapter VI of the Penal Code, in which section 
124A occurs, unless upon complaint made by order of, or 
under authority from, the Governor-General in Council or the 
Local Government." 

As to how this may be proved at the trial the learned 
Judge continued : — " In this case a complaint was made by the 
Oriental Translator to Government, an order by the Local 
Government to the complainant for the prosecution of the 
prisoner under section 124A is produced, and the complainant 
in the witness-box has shown that he instituted the prosecution 
in respect of these articles by order of the Government." 
This his lordship held was sufficient to prove the fact. 

Two objections were taken, by the defence, to the form of the 
order : one, that by the use of the word ' ' articles ' ' it did not 
sufficiently describe the matter which was charged as seditious, 
and the other, that it did not specify, by dates or otherwise, 
the extracts in respect of which action was to be taken. 



118 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

His lordship's answer to this was : — " It is only necessary 
to see whether the complaint relates to matters falling within 
the words ' certain articles appearing in the said newspaper,' 
and it is obvious that it does, and the order is therefore com- 
plied with." 

" It maybe desirable," he added, "and I think it is,, 
that orders under section 196 should be expressed with greater 
particularity, but I cannot read into the section restrictions 
which are not there. The section does not prescribe any par- 
ticular form of order, and does not even require the order to- 
be in writing. I am therefore of opinion that the order is 
sufficient." 

His lordship held further that even if it were otherwise, 
and the Magistrate had in fact no jurisdiction to commit the 
accused for trial, section 532 of the Criminal Procedure Code 
creates an exception, " and provides that in such a case the 
High Court may accept the commitment if it considers that 
the accused has not been injured thereby, unless during the 
proceedings before the Magistrate he objected to the Magis- 
trate's jurisdiction." After citing the Full Bench, decision in 
Queen-Empress y. Morton {9 Bom., 288) he continued: — "In 
this case no objection was taken in the Magistrate's Court, and 
I cannot hold that the accused has been in anyway prejudiced. 
The object of section 196 is to prevent unauthorised persons 
from intruding in matters of State by instituting State prose- 
cutions, and to secure that such prosecutions shall only be- 
instituted under the authority of the Government. I have 
no doubt that these proceedings have been authorised by the- 
Government, and I disallow the objection." 

These views were endorsed by the Full Bench that sat 
to hear the application for leave to appeal to the Privy Council. 
Sir C Farran, C. J., on that occasion, said: — "As to th& 
question of jurisdiction, we are all of opinion, without doubt, 
that this prosecution was instituted under the authority of 
Government, and that, to use the words of the present Code, 
this complaint was made ' by order of or under the authority 
of Government.' There is no special mode laid down in th& 
Code whereby the order or sanction of Government is to be 
conveyed to the officer who puts the law in motion, nl this 



INCIDENTS AND RULES OF PRACTICE. 119 

case the prosecution was conducted by the Government Soli- 
citor, it was instituted by the Oriental Translator to Govern- 
ment, and he produced the written order of Government to 
institute the complaint. Now though the complaint must 
undoubtedly contain the article complained of, to give infor- 
mation to the accused of the charge against him, there is 
nothing in the Code to show that the written order to make 
the complaint — if written order is required — must specify the 
exact article in respect of which the complaint is to be made." 

The views of Justice Strachey were also endorsed by the 
Calcutta High Court in the case of Apurba Krishna Bone v. 
Emperor (35 Cal., p. 149), already referred to. The learned 
Judges, however, who decided that case, while expressing 
their 'entire agreement with Strachey, J.,' observed that, "the 
section does not use the word aanction,'' and that "orders 
under section 196 should be expressed with sufficient particu- 
larity, and with strict adherence to the language of the section." 
This would seem to suggest that the word sanction ought not 
to be used, as, in fact, it had been in the Government orders 
which authorised the prosecution in that case. But in the very 
same passage, their lordships were constrained to use it them- 
selves, as being a " Convenient word." The Full Bench also 
used it, as an equivalent for authority. Indeed, it is difficult 
to avoid using it, as the learned Judges would seem to have 
found, for to authorise is to sanction. 

The section, then, appears to contemplate that no prose- 
cution for sedition can be entertained by any Court, unless 
the complaint has been either ordered or authorised by the 
Government, and, further, that the order, or authority, or 
sanction, need not be — though it usually is — in writing. 

More recently the Madras High Court have followed the 
ruling of Justice Strachey, in the case of Chidambaram Pillai 
V. Emperor (32 Mad., p. 9). In that case the order of Gov- 
ernment directing the prosecution (under s. 196) purported 
to authorise the institution of criminal proceedings against 
Chidambaram Pillai and two others, under section 124A, and 
other sections of the Penal Code, in respect of speeches delivered 
by them at Tuticorin and Tinnevelly in the months of February 
and March 1908. The prosecuting Inspector of Tinnevelly 



120 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

was further directed to prefer complaints of offences under the 
sections named without delay against the three persons named 
in the order. The substance of this order was telegraphed by 
the Government to the District Magistrate, who orally com- 
municated it to the prosecuting Inspector and instructed 
him to file a complaint, which was done the same day. 

In commenting ou these facts Sir A. White, C. J., said : — 
" The order states the sections under which the institution of 
the criminal proceedings is authorised, and, in general terms, 
the times when the speeches in respect of which the proceedings 
were authorised, were delivered. In our opinion there is 
nothing in the section to warrant the construction that the 
actual complaint must be expressly authorised by the local 
Government. The only question which the Court has to 
consider with reference to section 196, Criminal Procedure 
Code, is — ' Is the complaint which I am asked to entertain 
a complaint made by order or under authority of Govern- 
ment ? ' " 

Their lordships, however, dissented from the view 
expressed by the Full Bench that " the complaint should 
contain the article complained of to give information to the 
accused of the charge against him." Their lordships con- 
sidered this to be unnecessary. It may be, however, that 
the learned Judges who constituted the Full Bench only meant 
that the complaint should specift/ the article complained of, 
which certainly seems reasonable. 

It is clear, then, that section 196 of the Criminal Proce- 
dure Code renders tlie sanction of Government imperative, 
and there is no remedy for the want of it, except as provided 
by section 532. If, therefore, section 532 he for any reason 
excluded, there is an end of the question of jurisdiction. 

The sanction of the Government, which has been made a 
condition precedent to every prosecution for sedition, was 
stated in Council to have been provided as a safeguard against 
the possible abuse of the section. 

Another safeguard was provided in section 95 of the Code, 
which is one of the " General Exceptions." By the Act of 
1870 (s. 13) the provisions contained in Chapter IV of the Penal 
Code, relating to " General Exceptions, " were made applicable 



IXCIDENTS AND RULES OF PRACTICE. 121 

to section 124 A. This, it would appear, was hardly 
necessary in view of section 6 of the Code, which provides : — 
*' Throughout this Code every definition of an offence, every 
penal provision, and every illustration of every such definition 
or penal provision, shall be understood subject to the exceptions 
contained in the Chapter entitled ' General Exceptions,' though 
those exceptions are not repeated in such definition, penal pro- 
vision or illustration." In any case, the only one of them 
which would seem applicable to section 124A, is the one re 
ferred by the Law Member as contained in section 95. 

At the time of the legislation of 1898, a note of dissent was 
formulated by one of the opponents of the Bill in these terms : — 
' ' It is quite possible to punish a journalist or public speaker who 
is only guilty of using indiscreet language calculated at most to 
give rise to trifling feelings of irritation." The answer to this, 
it was pointed out, was to be found in section 95 of the Penal 
Code, which provides that ' ' Nothing is an offence by reason 
that it causes, or is intended to cause, any harm, if that harm 
is so slight that no person of ordinary sense and temper would 
complain of such harm." In such a case therefore a journalist 
would have nothing to fear. 

A further safeguard against abuse is provided by the 
Criminal Procedure Code in the restrictions imposed on the 
Police, who are not empowered to arrest without a warrant. 
Again the jurisdiction to try offences under section 124 A is 
restricted to Courts of Session, Chief Presidency Magistrates, 
District Magistrates, and Magistrates of the First Class speci- 
ally empowered by the Local Government in that behalf. 

The offence is stated to be not compoundable. This would 
seem to mean not compoundable by the complainant or prose- 
cutor; but the Government are obviously entitled to withdraw 
a prosecution, as they did in the Bangohasi case, and in other 
cases subsequently. 

Sedition is a non-bailable offence, but even so relief may 
be obtained under the provisions of ss. 497 — 8 of the Criminal 
Procedure Code. 



CHAPTER XII. 

ABETMENT OV SEDITION. 

The oilence of abetting sedition is not specially provided 
for in section 124A. For abetment of sedition, therefore,' 
recourse must be had to the general provisions of the Penal 
Code, which are contained in Chapter V (ss. 107 — 120). 

The Act of 1870 which introdviced section 124A into the 
Code in its original form, provided also, as already stated (see 
Ch. i), for the application of Chapter V to the offence of sedi- 
tion. This would seem to have been barely necessary, for by 
the same Act was provided section 40, defining the term 
"offence," as "a thing made punishable by this Code." Now 
inasmuch as sedition is a thing made punishable by the Code, 
i.e., an ' offence,' it is clear that the general provisions relating 
to the abetment of all offences would become applicable per se. 

But even if section 124 A had provided specially for abet- 
ment, as section 121 does, this, upon the authority of Emperor v. 
Ganesh Damodar Savarkar (34 Bom., 394), would still be so, and 
the general provisions of the Code could be referred to for the 
purpose of explaining the special one. 

Abetment is defined by section 107 of the Code in the 
following terms : — ' ' A person abets the doing of a thing, who — 

(1) instigates any person to do that thing ; or, 

(2) engages with one or more other person, or persons 

in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing if an 
act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of 
that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that 
thing; or, 

(3) intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, > 
the doing of that thing." 

It will thus be seen that there are three ways in which an 
act may be abetted, viz. : — by instigation, by conspiracy, or by 
aid and assistance. 

But it will also be observed that in each case abetment must 
precede or accompany the act abetted. There is no provision 



ABETMENT OF SEDITION. 12S 

for an accessory after the fact, as there is in the English law.' 
An abettor may be said to be an accessory before the fact. 

These provisions are, however, subject to further quali 
fications. 

First, v,-here an offence is abetted by instigation, it is 
explained that " ' To constitute the offence of abetment, it 
is not necessax}'' that the act abetted should be committed, or 
that the effect requisite to constitute the offence should be 
caused." 

This would not apply of course to eitlier of the other forms 
of abetment — by conspiracy or by aid — for both of them 
contemplate the commission of the act abetted. 

It is further explained that "It is not necessary that the 
person abetted should be capable by law of committing an 
offence, c^r that he should have the. same guilty intention or 
knowledge as that of the abettor, or any guilt}' intention or 
knowledge." 

Such a case might arise where seditious matter was dis- 
seminated through the medium of innocent newsvendors or 
placard-men, or even through a series of such agents. It is 
immaterial whether instigation be, direct or indirect. 

Secondly, the Code explains that "It is not necessary to 
the commission of the offence of abetment by conspiracy, that 
the abettor should concert the offence with the person who 
commits it. It is sufficient if he engage in the conspiracy in 
pursuance of which the offence is committed." 

Thirdl}'', it is stated that, " whoever, either prior to or 
at the time of the commission of an act, does anything in order to 
facilitate the commission of that act, and thereby facilitates 
the commission thereof, is said to aid the doing of that act." 

These provisions may be said to define the law of abet- 
ment, but the penalties have still to be considered. 

In the absence of any express provision, as in the case of 
sedition, it is provided by section 109 that, " if the act abetted 
is committed in consequence of the abetment,' ' the punishment 
shall be the same as that " provided for the offence." 

It is explained that ' ' An act or offence is said to be com^ 
mitted in consequence of abetment, when it is committed in 



124 THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

consequence of instigation, or in pursuance of the conspiracy, 
or with the aid which constitutes the abetment." 

If/ on" the other hand, the offence abetted " be not com- 
mitted in consequence of the abetment," and that offence is 
punishable with transportation for life, it is provided by section 
115 that the abetment shall be punishable "with imprison- 
ment of either description for a term which may extend to seven 
years, and shall also be liable to a fine." 

It has to be borne in mind in this connection that, although 
section 124:A provides a maximum punishment for sedition of 
transportation for life, it limits the term of imprisonment to three 
years. There may, of course, be cases in which the abettor is 
more guiltj'' than the person abetted, or equally so, and this was 
in fact the case in the Madras appeals (32 Mad., 3). Chidam- 
baram Pillai, who was the abettor, had received from the 
Sessions Judge a sentence of transportation for life, while the 
preacher of sedition himself received ten years. These sentences 
were reduced by the High Court to equal terms of six years' 
transportation. 

It has also to be remembered that in cases of sedition there 
can be abetment of the attempt to cause disaffection, as well 
as of the act of sedition. In the Madras case the attempt was 
successful, whereas in the Calcutta case of Leakut Hossein 
Khan (App. No. 214 of 1908) it was a failure ; but in both cases 
the abettor was convicted. 

Then it is provided by section 114 that, " Whenever any 
person, who, if absent, would be liable to be punished as an 
abettor, is present when the act or offence for which he would 
be punishable in consequence of the abetment is committed, 
he shall be deemed to have committed such act or offence." 

This provision merely defines the position of what, in the 
English law, is known as a principal in the second degree, as 
distinguished from an ordinary abettor, or accessory before the 
fact. 

The definition given in the Code of instigation is not 
exhaustive. It is in fact limited to incitements by wilful 
misrepresentation or concealment. 

Instigation is defined by Mr. Mayne in his ' Criminal Law 
of India' in these terms: — "A person instigates a crime who 



ABETMENT OF SEDITION. 12^ 

incites or suggests to another to do it, or who impresses upon 
his mind certain statements, whether true or false, with the 
intention of inducing him to commit a crime." 

In ' Russell on Crimes ' a person is stated to instigate 
another, ' ' when he actively suggests or stimulates him to an aety 
by any means or language, direct or indirect, whether it takes 
the form of express solicitation, or of hints, insinuation, or 
encouragement." 

" The offence of abetment by instigation," says Mr. 
Mayne, " is complete as soon as the abettor has incited another 
to commit a crime, whether the latter consents or not, or 
whether, having consented, he commits the crime, nor does it 
make any difference in the guilt of the abettor that the agent 
is one who, from infancy or mental incapacity, would not be 
punishable ; or that he carries out the desired object under a 
mistaken belief that the act he is employed to do is an innocent 
one. The offence consists in the abetment. The consequences 
aie only material as aggravating the punishment." 

There has, so far, been no reported case of abetment of 
sedition by instigation, though the case of Chidambaram 
Pillai came very near it. The position there was described by 
the Sessions Judge in these terms: — "According to the pro- 
secution case, the second accused, recognising the powers of 
the first as an orator, quickly got hold of him, invited him to his 
house, and commenced with him a campaign of seditious 
speeches, which so inflamed the minds of the populace against 
the Government authorities and the European community, that 
they caused the mill hands of the Coral Mills Company to go on 
strike, and ultimately caused the riots at Tuticorin and Tinne- 
velly." 

If the case had rested on instigation alone, it would 
have been unnecessary, of course, to prove its consequences, 
but having regard to the plain facts, the case was regarded by 
the High Court as one of conspiracy. 

Criminal conspiracy, as defined in ' Russell on Crimes, 
consists in "an unlawful combination of two or more persons 
to do that which is contrary to law." " But the best estab» 
lished definition," it is added, " of the offence is that given by 
Willes, J., on behalf of all the judges in Mulcahy v. R. (3 H. L., 



,126 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

p. 317), and accepted by the House of Lords in that and 
subsequent cases — ' A conspiracy consists not merely in the 
intention of two or more, but in the agreement of two or more to 
do an unlawful act, or to do a lawful act by unlawful means. 
So long as a design rests in intention only it is not indictable." 

" And so far as proof goes, conspiracy, as Grose, J., said 
in R. V. Brisac (4 East, 171), is generally ' a matter of inference 
deduced from certain criminal acts of the parties accused, done 
in pursuance of an apparent criminal purpose in common 
between them.' " 

Seditious conspiracy has also been aptly defined by Sir 
James Stephen in his " Digest of the Criminal Law " (see Ch. ii). 

The ofience of abetment dby conspiracy, according to the 
Penal Code, is not complete unless some ' ' act or illegal omis- 
sion takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy," but the acts 
themselves may afford the best evidence of its existence. And 
so the Indian Evidence Act (s. 10) provides that, " when there 
is reasonable ground to believe that two or more persons have 
conspired together to commit an offence, anything said, done, 
or written by any one of such persons in reference to their 
common intention, after the time when such intention was 
first entertained by any one of them, is a relevant fact as against 
each of the persons believed to be so conspiring, as well for the 
purpose of proving the existence of the conspiracy, as for the 
purpose of showing that any such person was a party to it." 

These principles were amply illustrated in the . case of 
Chidambaram Pillai v. Emperor (32 Mad., 3). In this case two 
persons w-ere convicted by the Additional Sessions Judge of 
Tinnevelly, Subramania Siva and Chidambaram Pillai; the 
one for sedition and the other for abetment of that offence. 

The charges against the two accused were in respect of 
three speeches delivered by the former on the 23rd and 25th 
of February and the 5th of March 1908. The second accused 
was present on the first two occasions, but not at the last. 
The speeches selected for the charge were part of a series of 
orations delivered by both in pursuance of a political pro- 
gramme devised by the second accused. 

" Each entered," their lordships observed, " from time 
to time on the other's ground, and the goal to which both 



ABETMENT OP SEDITION. 127 

pointed was the departure of all foreigners and all things 
foreign from the land, and the resulting Swaraj and pros- 
perity." 

At the hearing of the appeal the points for determination 
were the character of the speeches, the fact of their actual 
delivery, the nature of the abetment, the factum of a con- 
spiracy, and the consequences which resulted. In addition, 
several questions of procedure were decided. 

" The burden of the speech of the 23rd Febiuary," their 
lordships said, " was ' the way to obtain Swaraj.'' " 

" There has been considerable discussion, " they con- 
tinued, "as to the meaning of this word. We have been refer- 
red to the case of Beni Bhvshan Roy v. Em/peror (34 Cal., 991). 
There the learned Judges express the opinion that the term 
does not necessarily mean government of the country to the 
exclusion of the present Government, but its ordinary ac- 
ceptance is ' home rule ' under the Government. The Judges 
point out that the vernacular word used, if literally trans- 
lated, would mean ' self-government.' " 

There can be little doubt that the literal meaning of the 
word Swaraj (or Swarajya) is what the Oriental Translator to 
the Government stated it to be inTilak's case (22 Bom., 112), 
viz.: — "One's own government," {i.e., uative rule). The 
word occurs in the article on " Shivaji's Utterances,'''' in the 
passage, " I delivered the country by establishing ' Swa- 
rajya, ' " i.e., my own kingdom. 

This interpretation has, moreover, been endorsed by high 
authority. In the case of Emperor v. Ganesh Damodar 
SavarJcar (34 Bom., at p. 402), Justice Chandavarkar said : — 
*' The 9th poem, which is headed ' Who obtained independence 
without war ? ' winds up with this remark ' He who desires 
Swarajya (one's own rule) must make war.' " 

Probably the best equivalent for the term ' Sivaraj ' is 
the one which their lordships adopted, viz. : — ' indepen- 
dence.' Their lordships held that there could be no doubt 
at least as to what the accused meant by it, for in ' ' his own 
statement he defined the gospel which he preached as a gospel 
of ' ahsolute Swaraj.' The people of India," he said " were 
now trying to establish, in place of the foreign government, 



128 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

their Swaraj." An important witness for the defence had^ 
moreover, confirmed this by stating — ' ' the Swaraj which the 
first accused inculcated was a free and independent Swaraj, 
independent of British Government." 

" The sense in which a speaker employs it," their lord- 
ships added , ' ' must be judged mainly by the context of the 
speech in which the word is used. We have the passage 
' without bloodshed nothing could be accomplished.' We 
cannot read the passages with reference to the sacrifices made 
by Japan in the war with Russia iu any other sense than as an 
incitement to revolt. The phrase ' If all Indians whether 
strong or weak come forward as strong men, foreign Gov- 
ernment will collapse and Swaraj will be theirs' is an appeal 
to his audience to replace the foreign Government by 
' Swaraj. ' " 

The general tenor of the other two speeches their lord- 
ships found to be much the same. " We find a passage," 
they said, " 'When once Swaraj is restored, the country- 
should belong to Indians without any connection between the 
Indians and Englishmen. We ought not to allow them even to 
have their flags, which can be easily rolled and thrown into 
the sea.' " 

Their lordships were of opinion that these speeches were- 
seditious within the meaniEg of section 124A. 

As to the evidence that the speeches were delivered, and 
the seditious language actually uttered, this consisted of the 
notes taken by Police-officers who were deputed to attend 
the meetings for this purpose, and who gave their evidence at 
the trial and testified to their accuracy. This, it was held, 
was the method adopted in some of the State tmals ia 
England, and was approved. Their lordships said : — "' With 
regard to the speeches which were proved by the oral evidence 
of the witnesses, we are of opinion that, in the circumstances 
stated, the learned Judge was right in allowing the notes of the 
Police-officers to become part of the record in the case." 

"We accept," they added, "the prosecution evidence as 
giving a substantially correct summary of the speeches delivered 
by both the accused." 



ABETMENT OF SEDITION. 129 

The next question to be considered was the question of 
abetment by the second accused, and the evidence adduced 
in support of it. This again involved the further question of 
conspiracy. As to this the evidence was chiefly circumstan- 
tial. The facts relied on by the Crown were — ^that the second 
accused was an influential person in Tuticorin where the other 
was a stranger, that he accommodated him in his house, that 
together they attended the meetings at which the second 
accused usually presided, that the tenor of their speeches 
was the same — they both preached the gospel of boycott 
and Swaraj — and that they mutually supported one another 
in carrying out a definite political programme. In addition 
to these significant facts, there was a statement by the first 
accused in which he admitted the existence of a mutual arrange- 
ment for the delivery of these speeches. 

Upon this their lordships observed : — " The evidence then 
proves, beyond any reasouable doubt, the existence of a com- 
mon design, in pursuance of which speeches were made by 
Subraniania Siva, and it remains to be seen whether that 
design included the commission of ofiences under section 124A 
of the Indian Penal Code." 

"If Chidambaram Pillai," they added, " engaged with 
Subraniania Siva in a conspiracy to excite disaffection towards 
the Government, and if, in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in 
order to the exciting of disaffection an act ' took place,' then 
Chidambaram Pillai is guilty of abetment of the excitement 
of disaffection." 

In reviewing a mass of evidence bearing on the immediate 
consequences which resulted from the stream of seditious ora- 
tory delivered by the two accused, their lordships observ- 
ed : — ' ' There was evidence, which we see no reason for not 
accepting, of a marked change in the demeanour of the people 
after the speeches made by the first and second accused." 

One witness said : — " Before the speeches the town was 
quiet and law abiding, after the speeches commenced I noticed 
a difference. The people of the town became more and more 
lawless." Another said: — "After the speeches I heard one 
evening as I was returning from my office to my house a crowd 
of about 100 rowdies crying aloud ' Bande Mataram, let 

D, LS 9 



130 THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

Swadeshi prosper, let the thalis of the Englishmen's wives be 
torn off, hack to pieces the white men, the sous of harlots.' 
This I heard in the first week of March. No acts had been done 
by Europeans to provoke such utterances. WTien I first took 
charge people were friendly and respectful to the authorities. 
After the speeches they became contemptuous of the authorities." 
This was the evidence of the Sub-Magistrate of Tinuevelly. 

Another witness, the Agent of the B. I. Co., at Tuticorinj 
said : — ' ' It became so bad that I could not allow my wife and 
children to drive through the native town. We had to res- 
trict ourselves to the beach road. Tl\e hostility of the people 
became most marked after the 1st March 1908." 

A native pleader testified thus : — ' ' Before February and 
March people were well disposed and friendly towards Euro- 
peans and authorities of Government. After the speeches 
people showed signs of dislike, hatred and disloyalty. I move 
freely among the people. I gathered my impressions from 
conversations with difierent people. Crowds going to hear the 
preaching shouted " Bande Mataram, let Swadeshi prosper, 
and foreigners be damned (or perish)." 

The arrest of the two accused on the 12th March was fol- 
lowed by a serious riot at Tinnevelly. " Every public build- 
ing," said the Sessions Judge, (except one), " was attacked 
and fired, and the riot was only quelled by calling out the Ke- 
serve Police and using firearms." The same evening at 
Tuticorin a mob of 5,000 men, who had assembled to attend a 
prohibited meeting, committed a serious riot, and pelted a 
Magistrate with stones, who came to disperse them. The 
crowd was finally dispersed by a Police force and the use of 
firearms. 

In commenting on these events, their lordships said : — " It 
seems to us to be not unlikely that the arrest was the im- 
mediate cause of the outbreak. At the same time we think 
there can be little doubt that the fact of the arrest would not 
have occasioned a riot had it not been for the excited state of 
public feeling in Tuticorin and Tinnevelly — a state of things 
which had been brought about by the inflammatory and sedi- 
tioua speeches which had been delivered by the first accused 
and others." 



ABETMENT OF SEDITION. 131 

In conclusion their lordships said : — ' ' The evidence leaves 
no room for any real doubt that the political speeches of Sub- 
ramania Siva were a part of the programme, and the delivery 
of those speeches involved, as we have found, the excitement 
of disaffection against the Government. This was one of the 
things to be done in pursuance of the conspiracy, and as soon 
as it was done, the appellant was guilty. The appellant Chidam- 
baram Pillai was therefore rightly convicted." 

It has been already pointed out that it is only in excep- 
tional cases, such as this, that it is possible to prove that dis- 
affection has actually resulted from the effort to produce it. 
In the case of Reg. v. Burns (see Ch. Hi) the prosecution failed 
to establish any connection between the speeches and the dis- 
turbances which followed. 

But this again raises the question whether, in the absence 
of such evidence, it would be possible to establish a case of 
abetment of sedition by conspiracy, having regard to the terms 
of the second clause of section 107, which have been set forth 
above. It has to be remembered, in the first place, that the 
offence of sedition consists in the attempt as much as in the act. 
Abetment of sedition may, therefore, be committed by abetting 
the attempt to excite disaffection, without regard to the result. 
But to abet by conspiracy it is necessary, in view of the 
provision referred to, that an act should take place "in pursu- 
ance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing." 
The question then is, can the act which is contemplated to 
take place in pursuance of the conspiracy be an act which is 
comprised in the attempt ? If an attempt is made in pur- 
suance of a conspiracy, surely the act or acts which constitute 
the attempt are within the purview of the provision. If this 
be so, cadit qucestio. 

Two other points are to be noted in this important judg- 
ment. One is involved in the question whether section 196 
of the Criminal Procedure Code, which requires the sanction 
of Government for a prosecution for sedition, also requires it 
for a case of abetment of that offence, seeing that abetment 
is not specially mentioned in the section. 

It was held that, inasmuch as abetment of sedition is 
punishable under section 12-4 A, it is one of the offences com- 



132 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

prised in Chapter VI of the Penal Code, and is therefore included 
within the purview of section 196. This was clear from the 
sections relating to abetment, none of which provide punish- 
ments independently, and in paiticular from section 114. 

The accused had been charged under section 109, in respect 
of one speech at which he was not present, and under section 
114 in respect of two speeches at which he was present. Section. 
114 provides that if an abettor is present at the commission of 
the offence, "he shall be deemed to have committed such 
offence." "He is," their lordships said, "constructively 
a principal and is to be punished as such. The offence is 
punishable under section 124 A ; section 114 does not provide 
any punishment. The offence of abetment plus presence on 
the occasion of the crime abetted is constructively the offence 
abetted, and is punishable as such and not as abetment. 

The question was also raised whether an order of Govern- 
ment, authorising in general terms a prosecution for sedition, 
under section 124A, would include abetment as well. It was 
held that the order in question, in that case, which had author- 
ised the prosecution of certain persons under section 124A, 
" in respect of speeches delivered by them," might be taken 
to indicate not merely their own, but one another's speeches 
as well as their own, and so to intend the inclusion of abet- 
ment of sedition. 

The second point was with reference to the admissibility 
of speeches against the abettor which were not included in the- 
charge. It was contended for the defence that although such 
speeches might be used against the first accused to prove his 
' animus,' intention, or meaning, the speeches of the second 
accused could not be used to prove abetm.eut. It was held that 
they could be used to prove the object of the conspiracy, as 
part of the sayings and doings of the parties to the agreement, 
which had been found to exist. 

The case of Beg. v. Burns (see Gh. Hi) may also be referred 
in this connection. 

Abetment by intentional aid is perhaps the simplest form of 
the offence, and the best definition of it is to be found in the' 
Code itself. It is provided in section 107 — "Whoever either 
prior to or at the time of the commission of an act, does any- 



ABETMENT OF SEDITION. 133 

thing in order to facilitate the commission of that act, and 
thereby facilitates the commission thereof, is said to aid the 
doing of that act." 

A good ilhistration of this form of abetment is afforded in 
a case decided by the Calcutta High Court on the 28th May 
1908, which is unreported. It is the appeal of Leakut Hossein 
Khan and Abdul Gaffur v. Emperor (No. 214 of 1908). 

In this case the two appellants had been convicted by the 
Sessions Judge of Backergunge of sedition and abetment of 
that offence, and sentenced respectively to three and one 
year's rigorous imprisonment. 

The facts disclosed on the evidence were that the first ac- 
cused, who " was a well-known speech-maker on Swadeshi 
and similar topics in Calcutta," went forth on a mission to the 
Mahomedans of Eastern Bengal, to enlighten them in certain 
■doctrines which he founded on sundry texts of the Koran. 
He proceeded first to Barisal, which was at that time, as the 
Sessions Judge described it, ' ' the storm centre of Eastern 
Bengal politics." The district of Backergunge had been, 
moreover, declared to be a " proclaimed area," under Act 
VI of 1907 (see Appx.), an Act for the prevention of sedi- 
tious meetings. The text of the doctrines intended to be ex- 
pounded to the Mahomedans was contained in a leaflet, of 
which 1,000 copies had been printed, in the Urdu language. 
Tho leaflet purported to be an answer to a letter which had ap- 
peared in a Bombay newspaper, and it had, in fact, been sent, 
in the first instance, to the editor of that paper for publication. 
The editor of the paper, however, declined to publish it, as he 
considered it inflammatory and seditious. The ofl&cial transla- 
tion of the leaflet was as follows : — 

" Musalmans ! Do not be apostates and infidels for the 
sake of this world ' ' ! 

"On the 6th page of the daily ' Sultan-ul-Akhbar ' of 
Bombay, dated the 24th May, 1907 A. D., a letter has been 
published. The writer of it sends that letter from Dinapur 
without disclosing his name — only ' Writer H. M.' is written in 
it. There is no knowing whether he is a Moslem or a Christian. 
In the aforesaid letter from a verse in the Koran — ' Ati- 
ullah iva atkir rasiila wa ulil amr minkum' obey God and obey 



134 



THK LAW OF SEDITION. 



the Propliet and obey men in authority among you — lie has 
proved himself a heretic and a renegade and an utterly ignorant 
jjerson by stating that allegiance to the Christian ruler for the 
time being is binding upon Musalmans, and a means of pleasing 
God. In this verse, primarily obedience to God is enjoined, 
after that obedience to the Prophet is enjoined, after that in 
the third degree obedience to a Musalman ruler is enjoined. 
From the word ' MinMm' — among you — it is quite clear that 
if the ruler be not a Musalman, allegiance to him is not binding 
upon Musalmans. Besides this, if obedience to God and the 
Prophet be maintained, then (only) is allegiance to a Moslem 
ruler, as enjoined in the command, obligatory. To obey 
the commands of the ruler for the time being which conflict 
with (the commandments of) God and the Prophet would be 
going smtiaj, because obedience to God and the Prophet is the 
foremost (duty). 

" Moreover, in the Chapter ' Maida ' there is a verse of 
the Koran — ' Yd w'yohal lazimt dmana la-tattaa Khezu wal 
Yahuda wan-nasara anliya\ — Oh true believers do not make 
friends of the Jews and the Christians — that is, Oh true believ- 
ers (Oh Musalmans) do not make friends with Jews and 
Christians. By Christians is meant the Christian race. How 
then can allegiance be due to one with whom friendship is for- 
bidden by the sacred Korau ? 

" Alas ! the writer of that letter seems to be an utterly 
ignorant person — he does not even know the meaning of the word 
^ Itaat^ (allegiance). ' ItaaC (allegiance) and ^ DostC (friend- 
ship) are things entirely different from submitting to the 
laws of the ruler for the sake of worldly advantage. 

" Unhappy be the heart of the baseborn who commits his 
faith to the \\inds for the sake of this world."' 

Such was the text of the preacher, and the doctrine which 
be wished to expound. A reception at Barisal had been ar- 
ranged for him by the leaders of the Swadeshi movement, and 
he at once commenced sounding the influential Mahomedans on 
their views, and judiciously circulating his leaflet. In this 
work of distribution he was assisted by the second accused, 
Abdul Gaffur, who was well versed in Bengali as well as 
Urdu. Leakut Hossein, moreover, made strenuous efforts ' ' to 



ABETMENT OP SEDITION. 135 

convene a meeting to wliich, be could address a wdz, or a reli- 
gious sermon," but his efforts were unsuccessful, probably owing 
to the prohibitory orders already referred to. His mission, 
in fact, was a complete failure, for the leaders of Mahomedan 
society in Barisal would have nothing to do with him, or his 
leaflet. Some of the copies presented were politely returned, 
and others made over to the authorities. 

Upon these facts the learned Judges who decided the appeal 
had no doubt that Leakut Hossein intended by his leaflet to 
promote feelings of disaffection, as defined by Sir C. Petheram, 
C. J., in the Bangobasi case (see Ch. iv), meaning thereby " a 
disposition not to obey the lawful authority of the Govern- 
ment, or to subvert that authority if and when occasion should 
arise." Their lordships, moreover, found it "impossible 
to suppose that he published the leaflet meaning it to have only 
a religious tendency." Such a contention was clearly unten- 
able, ' ' since no one could suppose it to be the duty of a Mahom- 
edan to yield spiritual obedience to one who was not a Mos- 
lem." Their lordships were considerably strengthened in their 
views as to the meaning of the leaflet by the opinions ex- 
pressed by " persons into whose hands it came, and for 
whose perusal it seemed to have been intended," such as the 
sub-editor who refused to publish it, and the Mahomedan gentle- 
men at Barisal wbo were presented with copies. This being 
the intention, the eiforts which were made to circulate the 
leaflet were held to be clear evidence of "an attempt under 
section 124A." 

Their lordships also had no doubt as to the part played 
by Abdul Gaffur. " We cannot doubt," they said, "that he 
was acting in concert with Leakut, with a knowledge of the 
contents and the meaning of the pamphlet he was distributing." 
He was therefore guilty of abetment of sedition under section 
124A, read with section 109 of the Penal Code. The convictions 
and sentences were affirmed in both cases. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

THE LATER CASES. 

The two cases of Queen-Empress v. Luxman and Queen- 
Emyress v. Vinayek, which have been frequently referred to, were 
probably the first trials held after the legislation of 1898. They 
took place in the following year, and are fully reported in the 
Bombay Law Reporter (vol. ii, pp. 286-322). The prosecutions 
were in respect of a newspaper called the Gurakhi, published in 
Bombay, of which the accused in the first case was the sub- 
editor, while the accused in the second was the proprietor, 
editor, printer and publisher. 

The articles charged as seditious, which were common to 
both cases were entitled (1) " ^Vlxat is the meaning of Rdj 
and Ttdjya ? " (2) ' ' The Chafekars, the Dravids and Mr. Bruin 
No. 1." The first accused was charged independently in respect 
of a third article entitled ' ' The Chafekars, the Dravids, and 
Mr. Brewin No. 2," while the second accused was likewise 
charged in respect of one entitled "A white man's gun and 
the death of a ' native. ' " All the articles had appeared in the 
Gurakhi in the month of March 1899. 

The first of the four articles commences with a definition 
of the word ' Raja,' as being one who shines, and proceeds : — 
" That man alone deserves the name of a ' raja ' who, having ac- 
quired a kingdom by his valour, administers it well and pre- 
serves it in peace, or who, in a kingdom acquired by his ancestors, 
keeps himself in touch with his subjects, maintains prosperity 
everywhere, is capable of protecting his subjects and drives his 
car of sovereignty with true justice and impartiality." 

After drawing this picture of the ideal ruler, the writer 
proceeds to describe the real regime. "If such is the case," 
he continues, ' ' then will any sensible and educated person find 
it difficult to determine how far our present rulers, the English, 
are conducting themselves in conformity with this principle ? 
We have before us direct, palpable evidence showing how far a 
selfish ruler is liked by his subjects. If a snake hissing furiously 



THE LATER CASES. 137 

makes its appearance before us or before any other individual, 
will anybody hesitate to smash its skull by striking an axe on 
its head ? But if he is not armed with an axe or even its handle, 
then only the case becomes different. Even if such an emer- 
gency should arise, the man if he possesses physical strength 
will, though the snake may coil itself round his body and attempt 
to bite him, seize it by the neck tightly even in that crisis, and 
calling for help, be able to cut its body into pieces ; but if he be 
devoid of any strength at all then he can do nothing." 

The writer then counsels the acquisition of physical strength 
by his countrymen, and concludes thus: — "Of all kinds of 
riches nothing is as precious as physical strength, and there is 
not a shadow of doubt that any human being whatever, if he 
possesses it, will by any desperate acts and by following the 
example of even the beasts and birds, which fight furiously for 
their liberty, be able to defend his divine and natural rights." 

In commenting on this article Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., observ- 
ed : — ' ' Of the first article, it is said, it starts with a discourse 
on what is the true meaning of ' king and kingdom,' and indi- 
cates that, for the happiness of his subjects the ruler should be in 
touch with his people. The comment attributed to the first part 
of the article is that siich a state of things cannot be said to exist 
between the rulers and ruled of the present day — the Government 
and its subjects. It will be for you to consider how far that 
article bears that meaning, and if there is any particular stress 
laid upon the expression — ' We have before us direct, palpable 
evidence showing how far a selfish ruler is liked by his subjects.' 
What is said is this, that it describes the Government as a selfish 
ruler, and that this can only be regarded as an attempt to rouse 
feelings of hatred, contempt, and disaffection." 

With reference to the latter portion of the article, his 
lordship said : — ' ' In it there is said to be a simile drawn of 
Government as a snake, which is the one of all reptiles regarded 
with most abhorrence, and Government, it is suggested, is 
compared to a snake and is suggested to be deserving of the 
treatment which, according to the article, is accorded to the 
snake. There again it will be your duty to consider carefully 
what construction you will put on this part of the article, and 
you must determine what was reall}^ the intention of the writer 



138 THE Law of SED1T10^. 

of this article at the time when he penned it in the way he did. 
Then I draw your attention to the doctrine laid down in the 
latter part of that article — that it is the duty of those to- 
whom this article is addressed to strengthen themselves." 
His lordship then quoted the concluding passage cited above, 
and added, " That in itself is urged upon you to be an incentive 
to a spirit of disaffection against the Government as established 
by law in this country." 

His lordship then dealt with the other two articles charged, 
which were much in the same strain, citing characteristic pas- 
sages. It is unnecessary here to do more than refer to one of these 
passages, which was contained in the second article. It was as 
follows : — "If Mr. Rand, who according to public opinion had 
become inflated and disdainful by the secret instigation of 
Government, had been living now, could it even be imagined 
what dreadful deeds he might have committed ? Would it not, 
therefore, be desirable to bless the killer of Rand, just as Ram- 
chandra earned a blessing from the oppressed people after kill- 
ing Ravana ? " In conclusion, his lordship said : — " It is for 
you to say whether these articles bear the one constriiction or 
the other ; whether they are an attempt to arouse feelings of 
hatred, contempt or disaffection towards the Government, or 
whether they can be treated as comments expressing disapproba- 
tion of the measures of Government or of the administrative 
action of Government." 

The jury, without leaving the Court, unanimously found the 
accused Luxman guilty, and he was sentenced to six months' 
simple imprisonment. 

In the case against Vinayek the charge was based on the 
first two articles referred to above, as well as on the fourth, 
which was entitled ^4 w/iite man' a gun and the death of a ' native.^ 
The last was as follows : — ' ' The frolics of the white boys of the 
West have hitherto caused and are now causing the death 
of some ' natives,' like that of fishes in a tank. Three days ago 
a native was mistaken for a bear and killed. The day before 
yesterday another was killed in consequence of a misdirected 
aim. Yesterday another was killed because he did not pull 
the pankah properly. And to-day one more was killed while 
going about the country for a change of ' venue.' Bravo I 



THE LATER CASES. 139 

you wise soldiers! Government therefore ought to direct their 
attention to the fact that ' natives ' meet with death without 
any cause at the hands of the white people. When a question 
of this kind is asked in ' Parliament ' the ' State Secretary ' says 
that from the reply received from the Commander-in-Chief of 
India it is clear that such cases occur very seldom indeed, and 
that the existing law on the subject is sufficient. Blessed are 
the Commander-in-Chief and those w^ho rely on his statements. 
A case in which a white man of this very type, named Mr. Ross, 
shot with his gun a ' native ' dead at Silchar, has quite recently 
come before the Silchar Court. Let us see what takes place. 
The conjecture is that the accused will probably be let off with 
a fine only. When a white man kills a ' native' he escapes with 
a fine, while if a man like Chafekar, moved by solicitude for the 
welfare of the world, kills a w"hite man or two he is hanged, and 
the natives have to receive an unsolicited certificate from 
Government to the effect that there exist treasonable conspiracies 
among them, and that the Brahmins have become confirmed 
malefactors. Is it to be inferred from this that the scale of jus- 
tice is heavier, of that of injustice ? How then was the 
method of administering justice during the rule of the Moghals, 
or that adopted a century or a century and a half ago by the Sidhi 
of Janjira, who declared their will to be the law% worse than 
the sort of system of administering justice described 
above ?" 

In commenting on this article Sir L. Jenkins, C. J., said 
that it w as alleged to be "a distinct attack on the administra- 
tion, made in order to create feelings of hostility against the 
established Government, feelings which the law says must not be 
created ; that the article is a covert attack on the Government.' ' 
His lordship then quoted the concluding lines of the article, and 
added: — " That according to the evidence placed before you 
would convey to the mind of a Maratha reader a period of mis- 
rule on the part of the governing authority. There is a refer- 
ence again to the administration of justice adopted a century or 
a century and a half ago by the Sidhi of Janjira. That you 
have been told by the Oriental Translator to Government, would 
convey to the mind of the Maratha readers the suggestion that 
the system of British rule was misrule." 



140 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

It should be mentioned here that the reference to Mr. Ross's 
■case is misleading and inaccurate. Mr. Ross who was a tea 
planter in Cachar was committed to the High Court Sessions at 
Calcutta by the Deputy Commissioner of Silchar on a charge 
of murder. He admitted the act, but his defence, which was 
borne out by the established facts, was that he was suddenly 
attacked in a dense and solitary jungle by an infuriated mob of 
villagers armed with bamboo lathis and ddos. He was felled to 
the ground by the blows on his head, and his sun hat or 
topee, which was exhibited in Court, was cut through the brim 
by a ddo. To save his life he fired his revolver. The jury 
unanimously acquitted him, as the plea of self-defence was 
obvious. 

His lordship then dealt with the other articles charged, 
which have been already referred to. The jury found the 
accused Vinayek guilty, and he was sentenced to twelve 
months' simple imprisonment. 

Another important case, which has been frequently referred 
to, took place a few years later in Bombay, and is also to be 
found in the Bombay Law Reporter. It is the case of Emperor 
V. Bhaskar (8 Bom. L. R., 421). The accused was the editor 
and publisher of a Marathi newspaper called the Bhala, 
published at Poona. 

The charge was based on a single article which had 
appeared in the Bhala on the 11th October 1905, entitled ".4 
Durbar in HellJ'^ This was a long allegorical effusion 
published as a contribution from Shri Krishna. It opens 
thus: — "Once upon a time a great Durbar was to beheld 
in the Empire of Hell. A grand and extensive Mandap was 
erected for that purpose. Skins peeled from the corpses of 
liuman beings and sewn together foi"med the ceiling of the 
Mandap. At various places were posted trunks of human 
beings, with their heads cut off like stems of plantain trees, 
and many decapitated heads of men were strung together as 
garlands in various places in the Mandap. Just as hands, 
opened out, are now-a-days painted on wooden boards for 
showing the way, so hands actually cutoff were nailed on to the 
entrance to each of the prominent parts of the Mandap. In 
front of the Mandap a pond containing the blood of those dead 



THE LATER CASES. 141 

human beings was built fox the purpose of satisfying the vision 
of the members with its beautiful colour, and of appeasing their 
thirst by a drink of it ; and some of the red water in the pond 
was sprinkled on the road leading to the Mandap to lay the dust. 
In the interior of the Sabhamandap nude bodies of several beau- 
tiful women were placed, in an erect posture, for purposes of 
decoration." 

In the midst of this picturesque scene ' ' the Emperor of Hell 
occupied an exalted throne." When all were assembled "the 
Chobdars announced in a loud voice the object of holding the 
Dui'bar." They said: — "The present Emperor having become 
infirm on account of old age and having no auras heir commands 
that a fit person be appointed to rule over his kingdom after 
him. To-day's Durbar has been convened to make the selec- 
tion." 

After this the Emperor of Hell himself addressed the 
assembly, and announced the qualifications which he considered 
indispensable for succession to his throne. "Cruelty," he said, 
" and mercilessness are the principal and necessary qualifica- 
tions to qualify one for this throne ; he alone will adorn this 
throne who possesses these qualifications in a pre-eminent degree, 
and on him alone shall I confer it with pleasure. Therefore 
each should nowi describe in detail his own qualifications, so that 
the most deserving of you may be selected and crowned." 

Thereupon the candidates one by one proceeded to unfold 
the record of his atrocities, each in the hope of excelling the other. 
It is unnecessary to recount them here. "At last only one 
member was left to speak. But none imagined from his attire 
that he would prove to be pre-eminent in deeds of cruelty, for 
his complexion was most attractive, that is reddish white. His 
attire too was very simple. He wore trousers, boots, a coat^ 
and he had as a head-dress a turban shaped like a mason's 
hod. He carried in his hand a cane curved at one end, and he 
had in his mouth- a wooden pipe fiom which smoke was issuing. 
The member attired as above, got up and began to harangue 
as follows : — ' Your Majesty, many persons have till now sung 
the praises of their own accomplishments, but all these must 
pale before a narration of my qualifications. Your Majesty, 
therefore, may be pleased to hear an account of my cruelties. 



142 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

In the first place I entered, under the pretext of trade, a 
country in which I possessed no rights and with which I 
had no connection, and by gradually fomenting dissensions 
among the people there commenced to deprive them of their 
kingdom. Then I began to assume the authority of a king 
by acting on the principle of ' might is right.' I made many 
forged documents. I plucked out the teeth of the queens 
there and robbed them of their wealth by starving them. I 
ruined the money-lenders of that country by confusing docu- 
ments and sent them to Hell. Then I became a king and 
usurped the kingdoms of many. I robbed all of their indepen 
dence. I removed their wealth from there to my distant coun- 
try, so that there could be no fear of its coming back. I then 
saddled them with different taxes. I taxed their incomes and 
also levied an impost upon a commodity which is vital to their 
existence, that is salt. I gave them bribes of money and made 
them hate their ow n country. Then I deprived them of their 
arms, and thus arranged that they should not be able to defend 
themselves, even if torn and devoured by wild beasts. I hanged 
many of them and ill-treated their women and children. I 
consumed kine which are held sacred by them. I held many 
Durbars like this, without any reason, and made a parade of my 
own greatness thereat, and destroyed their means of subsistence. 
I changed the direction of their educational system, and banished 
the sentiments of patriotism from their minds, and turned 
them into donkeys for bearing loads. By telling them that I 
would come to their assistance, I gave the beggar's bowl and 
wallet into their hands. I incessantly trod them under my 
heels, and made their hunger vanish by systematically pinching 
their bellies. I made a bonfire of their lives, their wealth, their 
homes, their religion, their reputation, their honour, their in- 
dependence and everything else belonging to them. Can there 
be any more civilised mode of oppression than this ? I alone 
therefore, deserve the throne.' The Emperor of Hell was 
highly gratified to hear this speech, and getting up he cordially 
embraced that member. He gave three cheers in his name 
and said: — ' You alone are fit to conduct this government after 
me. You have perpetrated many acts of cruelty up to this 
time, and it is only in consequence of this that you have 



THE LATER CASES. 143 

obtained this kingdom by right; we will, therefore, very shortly 
crown you.' " 

The accused in his statement to the Court denied the author- 
ship of this article, but admitted responsibility for its publication. 
This he explained by saying : — ' ' I considered it as only an alle- 
gorical and imaginary description of a Durbar held in Purgatory, 
referring to no person and to no Government in particular. I 
had no intention at the time of its publication of bringing into 
contempt the British Government or of exciting feelings of 
disaffection towards it." As a proof of his loyalty five other 
extracts from his newspaper were put in evidence on his behalf, 
and on these he appears to have mainly relied for his defence. 
It was contended, in fact, that the loyalty displayed in these 
was inconsistent with any evil intention in publishing the other. 

For the Crown it was contended that the article in question 
spoke for itself. By the last speaker was meant the British 
Government, which wasso bad that it was only fit to rule in hell. 
The allusions were to incidents in the history of India after the 
coming of the English. If this were so then the British Govern- 
ment was sought to be brought into hatred. 

Justice Batty, in commenting on this article, in his charge 
to the jury, said:—" It is entitled 'A Durbar in Hell.' It 
has been suggested that the vernacular word used may mean 
purgatory, but the surroundings and accessories of the Durbar 
and the whole atmosphere of the scene described are diabolical. 
You will notice its barbaric cruelty— heads cut ofl^, hands 
cut ofi, blood on all sides, and the whole scene one of carnage and 
^dendish inhumanity. Then the Emperor of Hell is represented 
as about to choose a successor, and the qualifications are said to 
be cruelty and mercilessness in a pre-eminent degree. Then 
three persons come forward having these characteristics. They 
are all described as rulers. Now the accused has told you in his 
statement that he took the document as allegorical. Of course^ 
feelings may be excited as much by allegory and parable as by 
direct statement. What we have to find is the key to the alle- 
gory, and that is a question exclusively for you. There is the 
fact that the three persons brought before you are rulers, and 
that the third person is a civilised ruler, and that his dress is 
admittedly that of a European. He wears the sun topee or 



144 THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

head covering which Europeans wear. You will bear in mind 
that it is suggested that this description is apparently intended 
to identify the third person with British rule, and if you accept 
that suggestion, you will next consider whether the representa- 
tion is likely to cause feelings of contempt or disaffection in 
the minds of those who read papers of this description. You 
will observe that the paper is not one that circulates only 
among the most educated classes in Bombay, so that you 
must consider whether the persons among whom these articles 
circulated, are for the most part persons of reasoning power, 
and sufficient calmness of judgment and understanding to 
avoid the effect which such writing might have on the credulous 
and ignorant. Because you may be able to withstand the 
writing, it does not necessarily follow that everybody will be in 
the same fortunate condition." 

' ' Then you will consider,' ' his lordship continued, " whether 
it is compatible with the retention of due authority, whether 
it be in a home, or as between master and servants or employees, 
that the person in authority should be described as diabolical 
or as a fit successor to the Kingdom of Hell. And, if such senti- 
ments would be subversive of authority in ordinary households, 
can you regaid them as more innocuous if entertained towards 
the Government of a State ? The prosecution has attempted to 
identify the details described with certain public events, with 
the Delhi Durbar, the University Act, the Arms Act, the undis- 
puted removal of certain sums of money to a distant country, 
and lamentable circumstances directly connected with Clive and 
Warren Hastings to which Macaulay refers in his essays. If 
you think that these references point to a distinct attack, 
not merely at individual measures or persons, but upon the 
Government of India, then the article comes within the section. 
You must remember that the accused edited and published the 
paper, inserted the article, and that it was scattered broadcast, 
and we learn the paper acquired through this article a consider- 
ably increased circulation." 

The jury found the accused guilty, and he was sentenced to- 
six months' simple imprisonment and a fine of one thousand 
rupees. 



THE LATER CASES. 145 

Another case of some importance which has also been fre- 
quently referred to, is that of Apurba Krishna Bose v. Emperor 
(35 Cal., 141). The accused, who was the printer of the Bande 
Mataram, a daily newspaper published in Calcutta, had been 
convicted by the Chief Presidency Magistrate of sedition, and 
moved the High Court for revision of the order. The editor and 
the manager of the paper, who were tried along with him for the 
same offence, had been acquitted. 

The principal article on which the conviction was based 
was entitled ' Politics for the Indians,'' and was as follows : — 
"Methinks the time is approaching when the world will refuse 
to believe that the same race of Englishmen were instrumental 
in the abolition of the slave trade. Mr. Morley has said that we 
cannot work the machinery of our government for a week if 
England generously walks out of our country. AVhile this sup- 
position is not conceivable, did it not strike Mr. Morley that, if 
instead of walking out, the English were by force driven out of 
India, the government will go on perhaps better than before, 
for the simple reason that the exercise of power and organisa- 
tion necessary to drive out so organised an enemy will, in the 
struggle that would ensue, teach us to manage our own affairs 
sufficiently well 1 The Government is fast becoming a Gov- 
ernment of the evil genii, ' oppressive as the most oppressive 
form of barbarian despotism,' yet strong with all the strength 
of organisation and the sinews of war, if not with all the 
strength of civilisation. It was the same evil genii Mho 
destroyed Hindu images and ravished Hindu women at 
Jamalpur and Mymensingh, to strike terror into the hearts of 
those who advocated the use of country made goods. It was the 
same evil genii who are now terrorising the advocates engaged 
in defending the accused at Eawal Pindi. It is high time for 
the Government to calmly look on the heavy exports of grain 
from the country, exposing the children of the soil to an eternal 
state of chronic starvation. We have heard of the Mahomedan 
mandate of the sword or the Koran. Perhaps some day the 
/iat will go out that British goods or the sword are the only two 
alternatives between which we have got to choose." 

The rule was heard by Justice Caspersz and Justice Chitty^ 
who in commenting on this article said : — "The article is in the 
D, LS 10 



146 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

form of an unsigned letter, but it does not appear in the corres- 
pondence columns. There is no heading or foot-note that the 
editor does not accept responsibility for the opinions expressed 
in the letter." The learned Judges would appear to have 
overlooked the fact that the editor was not before them. 
The editor, as already mentioned, had been acquitted. It was 
the printer who moved the Court, but it is difficult to see how 
the presence or absence of such a "heading or foot-note" could 
affect his position. 

The observation, further raises the question, which unfor- 
tunately remains undecided, whether an editor can get rid of his 
responsibility for the publication of seditious matter by the in- 
sertion of a "heading or foot-note' ' of this description. It would 
certainly be strange if he could. 

" The comments in the letter," their lordships continued, 
' ' are incompatible with the continuance of the Government 
established by law. Reading the article, as we have read it, 
for the first time, we think the comments on the slave trade, 
the evil genii, and the alternatives of British goods or the 
sword, and the reference to His Majesty, the King-Emperor, 
and the tone, generally, of the production, are not within the 
explanations to section 124A." The learned Judges doabtless 
refer to the second and third explanations. 

"Such writings," they added, "are calculated to bring 
the Government into hatred and contempt. It may be said 
that these are words of emotional exaggeration. It may be said 
that ' Politics for Indians ' was based on imperfect telegraphic 
intelligence. But the duty of every citizen is to support the 
Government established by law, and to express with moderation 
any disapprobation he may feel of the acts and measures of that 
Government." The Rule was discharged and the conviction 
and sentence affirmed. 

An important trial for sedition took place in 1908 at the 
High Court Sessions in Calcutta. The case, which has been 
already referred to in a previous chapter, is entitled Emperor 
v. Phanendra Nath Milter (35 Cal., 915), otherwise known as the 
* Jugantar case.' The accused was the printer of a vernacular 
newspaper, published in Calcutta, called the Jugantar. It was 
in evidence that he had signed a declaration as such under Act 



THE LATER CASES. 147 

XXV of 1867 (see Appx.), which he had withdrawn on a subse- 
quent date, but not before the publication of the articles iu 
question. The articles are not set out iu the report of the case, 
but their purport can be gathered from the learned Judge's 
■charge to the jury, which contains a selection of the characteris- 
tic passages. 

Justice Rampini, A. C. J., in commenting on the three 
articles charged as seditious, said: — "In the first article, 
' Death ivished for,' it is written, — ' The extensive undertaking 
which we have begun for making our country independent. The 
hand of him who shrinks from uselessly shedding blood will 
tremble at the time of usefully shedding blood.' Finally, the 
article goes on, — ' So long as we shall not be fit for entering 
into this field of devotion, so long shall we have to practise 
useless shedding of blood, so long the^'play of this sort of fruit- 
less death will havejto be played.' Then on the next page there 
is a passage at the end of the first paragraph which is very signi- 
ficant. It is as follows : — ' But the restless youth, who has for 
many days wandered about restless, aiming at the life of the 
enemy of his country with the object of removing him altogether, 
the hopeless fellow, who' has run into the jaws of death as the 
result of failure, why do not the tears of sympathy of the people 
of the country keep his memory alive ? Why does his conduct 
get soiled by the stigma of rebellion? If self -destroyer and 
self-offerer be the epithets applied to rebels and heroes, res- 
pectively, where then lies the difference between them V Then 
in the second paragraph it is said, — ' "Whom have we placed in 
the van of the preparations for an expedition against the ruling 
power, which we have recently made ?' Then the article says, — 
' Those sons devoted to the mother, who in going to proclaim 
the truth of their hearts, have in a clear voice denied the exist- 
ence of the King, who is a foreigner, who have gone the way to 
death enchained by,' etc. Finally, at the top of page 3 is the 
following, — ' A call to death is now being sounded. Let nobody 
remain indifferent any longer, let those who know how to die, 
lead the van in this party of pilgiims. So long as the prepara- 
tions for the work of war are not complete, so long will you 
have to die in vain. There is no help for it, even if the shaft 
levelled at the foe hurts the breast of the innocent." 



148 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

" The next article," his lordship continued, " which is the 
subject of the charge, in paragraph 2, says, — ' These untold 
self-sacrificing, firmly resolute, heroic, self-restrained young men 
afraid of dharrna, who in the opening days of the year 1315, 
having staked their lives in an attempt to remove the sorrows 
and the unhappy lot of the country, have to-day fallen into the 
grasp of the Firingee, through the efforts of the traitor, have 
been born again and again in order to establish the kingdom of 
righteousness in India.' lu the third paragraph is the passage 
beginning with, — ' The rod of Providence has been uplifted in 
order to destroy the Mlechchha kingdom.' I forgot to ask the 
translator the meaning of the word Mlechchha. But it means 
an outcast. It is often applied to foreigners. Anybody who 
is outside the pale of the Hindu religion is a Mlechchha.'''^ 

" The last article," his lordship went on to add, "which 
is the subject of the charge, is entitled ' Conspircicy or desire for 
freedom." It is probably the worst article of the three. It 
says — ' The word conspiracy is very ugly, and implies meanness. 
It is only a secret plot against the King which is called 
conspiracy. Did the prisoners in Calcutta get up a plot against 
the King in secret ? surely not. A secret effort or endeavour 
for gaining independence cannot be called a conspiracy. And 
the English, again, are not the rulers of this country. Nobody 
can take as a conspiracy the attempt or expedition against one 
who is not the king, but a robber, a thief, a barbarian, an 
uncivilised person, and an enemy of India.' Then it winds up 
by saying the English are demons, and hence they are 
thwarting these intelligent persons in the performance of that 
meritorious act. We really want independence. India is not 
the Englishman's paternal property. The Englishman is 
nobody to this country. The thirty crores of the people of 
India ought, for the good of the entire mankind, to destroy 
them immediately, like Kavan's dynasty." 

"Then the otherj articles," his lordship added, "which 
are not the subject of the charge but only put in and printed 
to show the intention of the person who printed and published 
the articles which are charged. 'A call ' contains the passage, — 
' Arise people of this country. You are not weak, we welcome 
you in a loud voice. Let us fulfil the long cherished desire of 



THE LATER CASES. ' H9 

the earth with the warm blood of this unruly race, who are given 
to dancing violently like demons. Do not remain asleep any 
more. India shall be independent. Eise people of India, 
arise.' The next article ' What is harharity'' is not of very much 
importance. But the last paragraph of the next article ' Tram- 
ple doivn the enemy ' is very significant, — ' If in the attempt to 
destroy the enemy a woman is accidentally killed, then God 
can have no cause for displeasure, like the English. Many a 
Putana must be killed in the course of time in order to extirpate 
the race of Asuras from the breast of the earth. There is no sin 
in this, no mercy, no affection.' The next article entitled ' Who 
is the rebel?' says, — ' Inhuman oppression is being committed 
on Aurobinda Ghosh and others. Are they rebels ? None of 
them are rebels. They are entitled according to the very 
canons of justice to rise against the English. The English are 
strong and they are weak. This is why they are entitled to 
collect arms in secrecy. It is with secrecy that arms have to 
be collected in order to kill an enemy.' " 

In conclusion his lordship said : — " These are the articles, 
the first three of which are the subject of the charge. It is for 
you to say whether you consider that they were meant to excite 
hatred, contempt, or disaffection towards the Government of 
this country. You have only to look to these articles and to 
say whether they are seditious or not, or whether they preach 
war and invite the people to rise against the Government of the 
country and to take steps for entering into revolution." 

The jury found the prisoner guilty, but it does not appear 
from the report what sentence was imposed. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE LATER CASES — COUld. 

The year 1908 appears to have been unusually prolific im 
sedition cases throughout India, only a few of which came before 
the High Courts. Two important cases in that year came up 
on appeal, the one in Madras and the other in Calcutta. These 
w-erc the cases of Chidambaram Pillai v. Emperor, and Leahit 
Hossein Khan v. Emperor. They have been fully discussed in' 
a previous chapter (see Ch. xii). 

In the year 1909 the case of Emperor v. Ganesh Bamodar 
Savarkar (34 Bom., 394), came before the Bombay High Court, 
The accused had been convicted by the Sessions Judge of Nasik,. 
of sedition under section 124A, and also of abetting the waging 
of war under section 121 of the Penal Code. He was sentenced 
to two years' rigorous imprisonment for the first offence, and 
to transportation for life for the second. 

The charges were based on four poems, selected out of a 
series of eighteen and published in a book entitled Laghu Abhi- 
nava Bharata Mala or a 'Short Scries for new India.' At the 
hearing of the appeal it was contended for the appellant that 
aone of the four poems which were the subject of the charges 
bore the character assigned to them. On this Justice Chanda- 
varkar said : — " On examining the series of poems in the book, 
exhibit 6, containing the four poems, it appeared to us that there 
were other poems in it besides those four, which threw light on 
the intent of the writer, and that as the whole book had been 
allowed in the lower court to go in as evidence without ary 
objection, all the poems in the book could be referred to for the 
purpose of determining the intention, character, and object of 
the poems selected as the basis of the charges against the appel- 
lant in the lower court. We adjourned the hearing for an 
official translation of the whole series of poems in the book intO' 
English, and also to enable the appellant's legal advisers to argu& 
the appeal with reference to the bearing of the whole series on 
the poems forming the subject-matter of the charges." 



THE LATER CASES. 151 

In commenting on the character of the poems, the learned 
Judge said : — ' ' It is true that the writer has chosen either my- 
thological or historical events and personages, but that is for the 
purpose of illustrating and emphasising his main thesis that 
the country should be rid of the present rule by means of the 
sword. The innuendoes cannot be mistaken or misunderstood. 
For instance, the 5th poem purports to refer to the destruction 
of ' foreign demons' by Rama, Krishna, and Shivaji. Bat that 
it is not a mere description of the past but is meant to be a covert 
allusion to the British is apparent from the frequent use of the 
term ' black,' referring to the people of this country. Any one 
can see that the frequent play upon the word 'black' is intended 
as a contrast to the word ' white,' and the implication is that the 
' black' are ruled by the ' white,' and that the latter will and must 
be killed by ' a black leader of the black.' So also as to the next 
poem, No. 7. Under the guise of an invocation or prayer to 
Ganesh, the god who, according to Hindu belief, destroys evil, 
the writer calls upon him to take up the sword and be ready for 
war, because ' the demons of subjection have spread lamenta- 
tion all over the world.' The 'demons' are characterised as 
' dissembling, notorious, treacherous, cut-throat.' 

"The 9th poem," the learned Judge continued, "which 
is headed ' Who obtained independence without war ?' winds 
up with this remark : ' He who desires Swarajya (one's own 
rule) must make war.' The 17th poem professes to be a ' prayer 
of the Mavlas to the god Shiva,' but one can plainly see that 
the sting of the verses lies in the covert allusion to the present 
rulers of British India. The translation of the poems into Eng- 
lish brings out the sting clearly enough, but to those who know 
Marathi, who can either sing or understand the poems sung, 
the venom is too transparent to be mistaken for an5rthing else 
than a call to the people to wage war against the British Govern- 
ment." 

In conclusion, the learned Judge said :— ' ' A spirit of blood- 
thirstiness and murderous eagerness directed against the Gov- 
ernment and ' white ' rulers runs through the poems : the ur- 
gency of taking up the sword is conveyed in unambiguous lan- 
guage, and an appeal of blood-thirsty incitement is made to the 
people to take up the sword, form secret societies, and adopt 



15i: THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

guerilla warfare for the purpose of rooting out ' the demon ' of 
foreign rule." 

in commenting on the same poems, Justice Heaton, after 
an exhaustive analysis of the whole series, concludes with the 
following description of the book. " Briefly summarised, the 
teaching of this book is that India must have independence ; 
that otherwise she will be unworthy of herself ; that independ- 
ence cannot be obtained without armed rebellion, and that 
therefore the Indians ought to take; arms and rebel. This is 
quite plain, though the teaching is thinly veiled by allusions 
to mythology and history. It is sedition of a gross kind, and 
very little attempt was made to show that the conviction under 
section 124A of the Indian Penal Code was not correct." 

The conviction and sentences were affirmed and the appeal 
dismissed. 

In the year 1910 a group of four cases connected with a 
local vernacular newspaper called the Rang pur Bartabaha came 
upon appeal before the High Court of Calcutta. In the first of 
these (No. 509 of 1910) the appellant, Joy Chundra tSirkar, was 
the proprietor and editor of the paper in question. He had 
been convicted for sedition under section 124A of the Penal Code 
by the Di.strict Magistrate of Rungpur, and sentenced to two 
years' rigorous imprisonment. He had also been convicted at 
the same trial for promoting class hatred under section 153A, 
and sentenced for this to one year's rigorous imprisonment. 
A separate appeal had been filed against this conviction to the 
Sessions Judge of Rungpur. The High Court, however, to dis- 
pose of the whole case, transferred this appeal to themselves and 
the two appeals were heard concurrently. The three articles 
charged as seditious were named Pratikar (redress of grievances) ; 
Bijoya (a hymn to Durga) ; and Sipahir Katha (the talk of Se- 
poys). Six other articles which had appeared in the same paper 
about the same time, were also relied on by the Crown to prove 
animus, and to throw light on the meaning of the others. One 
of the learned Judges who heard the appeal had the advantage, 
as in the Bombay case last mentioned, of being able to test the 
accuracy of the translations, on which the prosecution relied, 
and found them in many places incorrect, overcoloured, and 
misleading. 



THE LATER CASES. 153 

After au analysis of these inaccuracies, some of which. 
were found to be 'absurd' and others 'perverse,' Justice 
Chatterjee proceeded to deal with the articles in question, 
asloTTows : — "Going into details upon the three articles, I 
find there is absolutely nothing objectionable in the article 
' Bijoya.' It is the rhapsody of a devout heart on the termina- 
tion of the religious festivities of the Durga Puja. The goddess 
is invoked not to inflict calamities like the cyclone of October 
last on the country, but to come next time in her world fascinat- 
ing Durga form, i.e., with the goddess of wealth and learning, 
with the gods of protection and success surrounding her. It 
deplores the degeneration of faith, and calls upon her to give 
them the power of writing in her worship without any malice 
or malevolence. The key to the seditious trend is found in the 
word para- pad a-dahita as a description of the sons of Bengal. 
Literally the words mean ' trampled under feet of others ; 
it really signifies a conquered nation and the figure of speech 
used is immaterial. Reading the article now with the light 
of the comment of the learned Magistrate and the learned 
Counsel for the Crown I am unable to consider that this article 
was an incitation to the people to unite for overturning the 
British Government, and the article ' Anandamoyir Agamone ' 
does not throw much adverse light." 

" The same thing cannot, however, be said of the other two 
articles. Although the sense is consideiably disfigured by the 
mistranslations, there is one idea clear as running through the 
two articles, that the Government does not care for ascertaining 
the real truth about grievances which exist, especially about 
the administration of justice. The first article,, the Pratikar, 
says that, bribery in some form or other is rampant in Courts of 
Justice, barring of course the Judiciary \vho are beyond suspi- 
cion and therefore poor. The writer, therefore, prays that a se- 
cret commission might be appointed by Government for investi- 
gating the truth of the allegations, and asks the society to ex- 
communicate such ignoble bribe-takers. The sting of the article 
however, lies, according to the prosecution, in the concluding 
statement that ' Englishmen will laugh at such a request (for a 
commission to inquire into the bribery prevalent in courts, etc.). 



15i 



THE LAW OF SEDITION. 



and say ' these people are so worthless that they expose the fail- 
ings of their own countrymen to the scrutiny of others.' butj 
the writer says, ' You have laid such a trap that we must dis- 
regard all questions of dignity and honor and fall into them, you 
are the teachers we are the disciples.' Literally read the word 
' trap' as applied to a jiidicial system is objectionable, but strip- 
ped of the figure of speecli it means a complicated system, and 
the writer means that people cannot help giving bribes, because 
otherwise they would not have their work done at all or done 
promptly." 

" The next article," the learned Judge continued, " is the 
'Sipahir Katha.' This article contains a severe diatribe against 
Swadeshi agitators of lawyer class." " To my mind the article is 
intended to expose the so-called Swadeshi agitators, and con- 
demn not only their methods of boycott and terrorism, but also 
the insincerity of their professions of brotherhood to those whose 
blood in the shape of hard earned money they are said to be 
sucking and feeding themselves fat upon." " The sin, how- 
ever, of these two articles is that they impute wholesale bribery 
to the ministerial officers of courts and to the lower officers of 
the Police force, and express grave doubts as to whether Govern- 
ment ever enquire into the truth of the grievances, so much i» 
it occupied with investigation of boycott, dacoity, and seditious 
matters. If these aspersions have the effect of bringing into 
hatred or contempt the established Government of the country, 
or serve to create feelings contrary to affection to the Govern- 
ment we need not stop to enquire whether any part of them is 
true. To my mind these aspersions against the Government 
may have the effect of making the people think that the Govern- 
ment is not doing its duty, and is not therefore a good Govern- 
ment. I think, they go beyond fair comment, and written at a 
time when seeds of sedition are being sown broadcast, and the 
minds of people are under excitement, they cannot be taken to 
have been actuated by honest and loyal motives. I think, there- 
fore, that under the circumstances of the case the conviction of 
the prisoner under section 124:A is right. The articles are, how- 
ever, more or less crazy and the sedition is only indirect, and I 
think a sentence of six months' rigorous imprisonment will serve 
the ends of justice." 



THE LATER CASES. 155' 

In regard to the same articles Justice Richardson concur- 
ring pronounced the following opinion : — ' ' In regard to the 
article ' Bijoya' the only word to which objection can fairly 
be made is ' parapadadahita' (trodden under the feet of strangers), 
Avhich if intended to be so applied is not a just description of the 
condition of the people under the Crown. But in the context 
in which it occurs, I agree that this one word is not sufficient to 
make the article seditious. No doubt references to demons^ 
whether they be the allegorical demons of passion, or the em- 
bodied demons of mythology, sometimes cover attacks of a 
political character. But if a particular article is charged as 
being seditious on the ground that it says more than appears 
on the face of it, it is, of course, the duty of the prosecution to 
show that it has in fact the guilty meaning or intention^ 
attributed to it. In the present case the proof of any such 
intention appears to fall short." 

" As to the articles ' Pratikar' and ' Sipahir Katha,' " he 
added, " I agree that the sweeping and unqualified character 
of the imputations which they make against the administration 
of affairs in this country leaves no doubt that they were intended 
to stir up feelings of disaffection towards the Government 
established by law, and that in respect of these two articles the 
conviction of the appellant under section 124A of the PenaL 
Code should be affirmed." 

In the next appeal (No. 497 of 1910) the appellant Surendra 
Prosad Lahiri was the printer of the same paper, and had been 
convicted under the same sections of the Penal Code and sen 
tenced to six months' rigorous imprisonment for each offence* 
The learned Judges in disposing of this appeal said: — "The 
prisoner was the declared printer of the Rungpur Bartabaka, 
and he has been convicted of offences under sections 124 A and 
ir)3A of the Indian Penal Code in respect of the same articles 
Pratikar, Bijoya, and Sipahir Katha in respect of which the edi- 
tor Joy Chandra has been convicted. We have held in the 
appeal of Joy Chandra that the article Bijoya is harmless, or at 
all events not seditious, but that the articles Pratikar and Sipahir 
Katha are seditious, in the sense of containing wholesale denun- 
ciations of the administration of justice in India. The prisoner, 
being the declared printer, would be responsible for the said 



156 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

articles, unless he can make out on sufficient evidence that he 
had in fact nothing to do with them. The Pratikar appeared 
on the 10th of September 1909, and the Sipahir Katha on the 
20th of November 1909. The learned Magistrate finds on the 
evidence that he was absent from Rungpur on these days, and 
it is argued that the knowledge of these articles must therefore 
be brought home to him before he can be convicted. It appears 
that he did not take any interest in the paper, and was occupied 
in his own business as a photographer and general dealer. But 
he allowed his name to remain on the record as the printer, and 
we think, he has not made out th.e bona fides of his absence from 
Rungp7ir. He is, therefore, legally guilty under section 124A, 
and we confirm the conviction. In consideration, however, of 
his expressed intention to sever his connection with the paper 
we reduce his sentence to what he has already suffered." 

In a more recent appeal before the High Court of Calcutta 
(No. 744 of 1910), the appellant Mon Mohan Ghose, who was the 
printer and publisher of a newspaper called the Karmajogm, 
had been convicted under section 124A of the Penal Code and 
sentenced to six months' rigorous imprisonment by the Chief 
Presidency Magistrate. The charge was based on an article 
entitled "To my Countrymen," which purported to be "an 
open letter addressed by one Arabindo Ghose to his country- 
men," and which had appeared in the issue of the 25th 
December 1909. 

At the hearing of the appeal it was sought to interpret this 
article by reference to two other articles which had prev^iously 
appeared in the same paper on the 24th and 31st July. This 
was disallowed, for reasons which have already been discussed 
in a previous chapter (see Ch. x), and the decision was accord- 
ingly based on the article itself. The main features of the case 
appear in the judgment of Justice Fletcher, one of the learned 
Judges who heard the appeal, which was delivered on the 7th 
November 1910. 

After citing the observations of Justice Strachey in 
Tilak's case on the limits of fair comment in journalism 
(seeCh. a;), the learned Judge proceeded to analyse the article in 
question in the following terms: — "Now the first words that 
the learned Advocate-General has laid stress upon is the call to 



THE LATER CASES. 157 

the Nationalist party to ' once more assume tlieir legitimate 
place in the struggle for Indian liberties.' This, it is said, is a 
clear invitation by the writer to his countrymen to join in a 
movement having for its attainment the liberation of India from 
foreign rule. But, in my opinion, the words standing alone are 
capable of a much more innocent meaning. The use of the word 
'' liberties,' in the plural, would not prima facie point to the 
liberation of the country from foreign rule, but to certain specific 
liberties ; and this view appears to be supported by the subse- 
quent portion of the article, where the writer sets out what the 
demand of the Nationalist party must be, viz., an effective 
voice in legislation and finance, and some control over the 
Executive. 

" The next portion of the article on which the learned Ad- 
vocate-General laid stress is the portion, ' The survival of moder- 
ate politics in India depended on two factors, the genuineness 
Oi the promised reforms, and the use made of them by the con- 
ventionists of the opportunity given them by the practical 
suppression of Nationalist public activity. Had the reforms 
been a genuine initiation of constitutional progress the moder- 
ate tactics might have received some justification from events. 
The reforms have shown that nothing can be expected from per- 
sistence in moderate politics, except retrogression, disappoint- 
ment and humiliation.' The argument put forward on this part 
of the article is that the statement that the reforms are not 
' genuine,' or a ' genuine initiation of constitutional progress' 
holds the Government up to hatred and contempt as implying 
that they have given the people something that is not 'genuine.' 
To my mind this is a far-fetched argument. The writer was 
obviously entitled to express his opinion on the Reform Scheme, 
and the mere fact that he states that the scheme is not a genuine 
reform or not a genuine measure of constitutional progress cannot 
be seditious. But then it is said that the statement ' that no- 
thing can be expected from persistence in moderate politics, ex- 
cept retrogression, disappointment, and humiliation,' followed 
subsequently by the words ' discomfited and humiliated by the 
Government' — are obviously seditious, as the words mean that 
the Government has humiliated a large portion of the peopla^ 
viz., the moderate party, and therefore the statement brings 



158 TUE LAW OP SEDITION. 

the Government into hatred or contempt. It is obvious that 
this is not the natural or ordinary meaning of the words. The 
Natural meaning is that the moderate party has been humiliated 
by accepting the Reform Scheme, which is not a measure of ' con- 
stitutional progress.' Then a portion of the article was relied 
upon as showing that the writer was advocating that violent 
taethods should be used if necessary. The words are ' If the 
Nationalists stand back any longer either the National movement 
will disappear, or the void created will be filled by a sinister and 
violent activity.' But that the intention is not such is shown 
by the sentence that immediately follows : — ' Neither result can 
be tolerated by men desirous of their country's development and 
freedom.' 

' ' The learned Advocate-General next referred us to the fol- 
lowing parb of the article : — ' The fear of thi law is for those who 
break the law. Our aims ajc great and honorable, free from 
stain or reproach Our methods are peaceful, though resolute 
and strenuous. We shall not break the law, and therefore we 
need not fear the law. But if a corrupt police, unscrupulous 
officials, or a partial judiciary make use of the honorable publi- 
city of our political methods to harass the men who stand in front 
by illegal, suborned, and perjured evidence, or unjust decision 
shall we shrink from the toll that we have to pay on our march 
to freedom. We must have our associations, our organisations, 
our means of propaganda, and if they are suppressed by arbitrary 
proclamations, we shall have done our dutj- by our motherland, 
and not on us will rest any responsibility for the madness which 
crushes down open and lawful political activity, in order to give 
a desperate and sullen nation into the hands of those fiercely 
enthusiastic and unscrupulous forces that have arisen among 
us, inside and outside India.' The argument on the first part 
of this paragraph is that, as the Government appoint the police 
officials and judiciary, to describe them as corrupt, unscrupulous 
and partial, reflects upon the Government and brings it into 
hatred and contempt. But though the words used are such 
that we may strongly disapprove of, I am unable to see that 
the words taken in their context necessarily bear this meaning. 
The first portion of the paragraph states that the movement is 
to be a movement within the law, and then follows the sentence 



THE LATER CASES. 159 

commencing ' But if ' — which words clearly govern the sentence 
which follows. 

" It seems to me reasonably clear that the writer does not 
intend to designate all the police, officials, and judiciary as cor- 
rupt, unscrupulous and partial. It is also to be remembered 
that the article is not one written on the police, officials, or 
judiciary. Although one may regret the use of such words, I 
cannot bring myself to believe that the use of these words, in 
the context in which they are used, falls within section 124 A of 
the Indian Penal Code. 

' ' The other three expressions in the paragraph which have 
been dealt with are the expressions ' arbitrary proclamations,' 
'madness,' and a ' desperate and sullen nation.' It is very ob- 
vious that the expression 'arbitrary proclamations' coupled 
with the word ' associations ' points to proclamations under the 
Criminal Law Amendment Act suppressing associations. I 
take it, however, that there is no particular harm in a writer 
stating that if his association, which he believes to be a lawful 
one, is suppressed, the proclamation will be arbitrary. It is 
difficult to deal seriously with the other two expressions ' madness ' 
and a ' desperate and sullen nation.' That the first of these 
two expressions charges the Government with insanity cannot be 
argued. It is said, however, that the meaning of the word as 
used is that of recklessness, and therefore falls within section 
124A. The word, however, is clearly used to indicate an act of 
folly which, in the context, is clearly innocuous. Similarlv with 
regard to the expression a ' desperate and sullen nation.' The 
learned Advocate argued that these words are seditious, as im- 
plying that the Government had made the nation desperate and 
sullen, and therefore brought the Government into hatred and 
contempt. But if arguments of this nature are assented to the 
right of comment on the action of Government given by law 
would be wholly taken away. 

" Then we come to what the writer states is to be the de- 
mand of the Nationalist party. ' We demand, therefore, not the 
monstrous and misbegotten scheme which has just been brought 
into being, but a measure of reform based upon democratic 
principles — an effective voice in legislation and finance, some 
check upon an arbitrary executive. We demand also the wra- 



160 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

dual devolution of executive Government out of the hands of 
the bureaucracy into those of the people. Until these demands 
are granted we shall use the pressure of that refusal of co-opera- 
tion which is termed passive resistance. We shall exercise thaf 
pressure within the limits allowed us by the law, but apart from 
that limitation the extent to which we shall use it depends on 
expediency, and the amount of resistance we have to overcome.' 
"The argument for the Crown is that the use of the words 
' monstrous and misbegotten scheme' as applied to the Reform 
Scheme, hold the Government up to ' ridicule and vituperation.' 
But that does not appear to me to be the natural consequence 
of these words. Doubtless the words are a strong condem- 
nation of the Reform Scheme framed by the Government. 
The law, however, permits comments on action of the Gov- 
ernment provided, they do not bring the Government into 
hatred or contempt or promote disloyalty. A statement that 
the Reform Scheme is monstrous and misbegotten, because it is 
not founded upon democratic principles is not by itself one that 
exceeds fair and reasonable comment. The next words that 
the learned Advocate-General much relied on were the words 
' Arbitrary Executive," which he stated were ' sufficient of them- 
selves to contravene the law.' He argued that any constitutional 
lawyer would know that the Executive Government of India 
was not an arbitrary Executive, as no person is liable to be de- 
prived of his liberty, or to have his property forfeited without 
recourse to the courts of law. In the first place, however, it is 
to be noticed that we must look at the words used by the writer 
not as if he were a constitutional lawyer, but as a writer in a jour- 
nal. I quote from the very pertinent remarks made by Strachey, 
J., in charging the Jury in Tilak's case : — ' A Journalist is not 
expected to write with the accuracy and precision of a lawyer or 
a man of science ; he may do himself inj ustice by hasty expres- 
sions out of keeping with the general character and tendency 
of the articles.' Moreover, there is a more general and popular 
meaning to the words ' arbitrary executive ' than that given by 
the learned Advocate-General. Further, if the definition given 
by the learned Advocate is correct, it may be a matter of opi- 
nion how far the Government does or does not fall within that 
definition. 



THE LATER CASES. 161 

" The next expression to which exception was taken was 
' passive resistance.' The writer has, however, defined it 
himself as being ' refusal of co-operation within the limits allow-: 
ed us by the law.' It seems difficult to deduce a seditious mean^ 
ing from this phrase. But then it is said that although the 
writer states that the pressure is to be used within the limits 
allowed by the law, yet there is a covert threat to use pressure 
outside those limits if necessary. All I can say on this argu^ 
ment is that I have not been able to discover this covert threat 
from the words used. 

' ' The next and last part of the article which the learned 
Advocate-General has called our attention to is — ' The move- 
ment of arbitration .successful in its inception has been dropped 
as a result of repression. The Swadeshi Boycott movement still 
moves by its own impetus. We must free our social and eco- 
nomic development from the incubus of the litigious resort to 
the ruinously expensive British Courts.' The learned Advo- 
cate-General stated that the expression ' Swadeshi Boycott ' 
referred to a boycott of the Government. But it is a matter 
of public kuovfledge that it refers to a boycott of foreign 
goods ; and again he laid stress upon the expression ' ruinously 
expensive British Courts.' The question as to the expense 
involved in litigation before the Courts is surely a matter on 
which a writer is entitled to comment. This is not the first 
time, nor will it, I imagine, be the last when the Courts will 
be described as ruinously expensive, and I cannot see how 
such a statement can come within section 124A." 

In conclusion, the learned Judge said : — " I have now dealt 
with the arguments that have been made before us, in detail, 
on the article, and I have given the best consideration I can to 
the article as a whole, and I have come to the conclusion that 
it does not appear from the article that it is such as is likely to 
cause disaffection or produce hatred or contempt of the Govern- 
ment, nor can I find from the article that such was the intention 
of the writer. Doubtless to many, if not to most people, the 
writer's view of the great Eeform Scheme would appear to be 
unreasonable, and one that does not recognise the great advance 
that has been made. But with that we are not concerned- 



162 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

All that we have to decide is whether the law, as it is, has or has 
not been broken by the appellant, by the publication of this 
article, and I have come to the conclusion that it has not. The 
learned Advocate-General has pressed upon us strongly to take 
into consideration the state of the country at the time this article 
was published. The authorities show that that is a matter to be 
taken into consideration, but that obviously does not entitle 
the Court to convert an article not falling within the mischief 
aimed at by section 124A into one that does. In my opinion 
the appeal ought to be allowed, and the conviction and sen- 
tence set aside." 



CHAPTER XV. 

COGNATE OFFENCES. 

Promoting class-hatred, though treated in the Indian 
Penal Code as a distinct oSence, is, and has always been, a part 
of the English law of sedition (see Ch. ii). WTien the law of 
sedition was first formulated in 1870 and introduced into the 
Penal Code as section 12'iA, no such provision was in contem- 
plation, but in 1897 when the law was about to be amended, 
the want of such a measure was recognised. It was then 
decided to embody the provision, in accordance with the English 
law, in the amended section, and the Bill when first drafted 
included it as a part of the law of sedition. This has been 
already pointed out in a previous chapter (see Ch. vii). 

The Hon'ble Mr. Chalmers, when introducing the Bill 
on the 25th December, said : — ' ' Subject to one possible 
exception, our proposed new section in no wise alters the 
law at present in force in India. The possible exception con- 
sists in the provision that it amounts to sedition to promote or 
attempt to promote feelings of enmity or ill-will between 
different classes of Her Majesty's subjects. The question has 
not been raised or decided whether such conduct amounts to 
an offence under the present section 124A. But the proposed 
addition is law in England, and if such a rule be required in 
England with its practically homogeneous population, it is 
still more requisite in India where different races and religions 
are in continual contact. For the most part under British 
rule our Muhammadan and Hindu fellow-subjects live to- 
gether in peace and amity, but recent agitations in various parts 
of India have shown how dangerous to the public tranquillity 
is any agitation which seeks to fan into flame those feelings 
of racial and religious antagonism which still smoulder beneath 
the surface." 

The Bill was then referred to a Select«Committee. Among 
the changes effected by the Select Committee one of the 
most important was the removal of this provision from section 



164 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

124A to another part of the Code, where it now occupies an 
independent position as a distinct ofience. The reasons for 
this change are stated in their Report of the 4th February 
1898, as follows : — " We have omitted the words ' or promotes 
or attempts to promote feelings of enmity or ill-will between 
difierent classes of Her Majesty's subjects,' and have framed a 
new clause to deal with the ofience thereby indicated. It appears, 
to us that the offence of stirring up class-hatred differs in many 
important respects from the offence of sedition against the State. 
It comes more appropriately in the chapter relating to offences- 
against the public tranquillity. The offence only affects the 
Government or the State indirectly, and the essence of the 
offence is that it predisposes classes of the people to action 
which may disturb the public tranquillity. The fact that this 
offence is punishable in England as seditious libel is probably 
due to historical causes, and has nothing to do with logical 
arrangement." "But," they added, '" in framing the clause we 
have altered the words ' enmity or ill-will ' into ' enmity or 
hatred,' and we have fixed the maximum punishment at two 
years' imprisonment." The word ' ill- will' was thought to be 
' ' too wide and vague ' ' in its meaning, and therefore unsuit- 
able for either section. 

When the Council met on the 18th February 1898, for the 
final consideration of the Bill, the Hon'ble Member in charge 
alluded to the changes which had been made as follows : — 
" We have removed the ofience of stirring up class-hatred from 
the sedition clause, and have inserted it in the chapter relating 
to offences against the public tranquillity. This offence, no 
doubt, only affects the State indirectly. It affects the State 
through the danger it causes to the public tranquillity. It ia 
less akin to treason than a seditious attack upon the Govern- 
ment by law established, and therefore we have provided a 
much smaller punishment. But in India the offence is a very- 
dangerous one. When class or sectarian animosity is directed 
against any section of Her Majesty's subjects, the members 
of that section are in peril. Any accidental event may cause 
an explosion, and it 4s difficult to foresee the direction which 
the explosion will take. The persistent attacks made on the 
cfficers and helpers engaged in plague operations have already 



COGNATE OFFENCES. 165 

resulted in sad loss of life. A squabble over an alleged mosque 
gave rise to a dangerous riot which, at one time it was feared might 
turn into a general attack on the European community in Cal- 
cutta. We wish to trust to prevention rather than cure, and by- 
taking power to punish people who foment class animosities to 
obviate the necessity of putting down the consequent distur- 
bances with a high hand." 

" But," he added, " though we think and believe that 
the measures we have proposed are necessary, we have provided 
■safeguards against any possible abuse of them — safeguards 
which, I may observe, are unknown to English law. As 
the law now stands, no prosecution under section 124 A can 
be commenced without the authority of the Local G-overnment 
or the Government of India. We intend to maintain that rule, 
and further to apply it to offences under sections 153A and 
505. Ther§ remain the rights of appeal and revision. Every 
sentence passed under the provisions I have referred to can 
be brought in one form or the other under the cognizance of 
the High Court." 

On this occasion also a further amendment was intro- 
duced. The ' Explanation ' to the section, the principle of 
which is borrowed from the English law of sedition, was added 
at the instance of Sir Griffith Evans. The Bill was then passed 
as Act IV of 1898, and the new provision took its place in the 
Penal Code as section 153A. 

The new section was as follows : — 

" 153A. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, 
„ ,. . or by signs, or by visible representations, or 

Promotintr enmity iu • 

between classes. otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote 

feelings of enmity or hatred between 

different classes of Her Majesty's subjects shall be punished 

with imprisonment which may extend to two years, or with 

fine, or with both. 

Explanation. — It does not amount to an offence within the 
meaning of this section to point out, without malicious inten- 
tion and with an honest view to their removal, matters which 
are producing, or have a tendency to produce, feelings of en- 
mity or hatred between different classes of Her Majesty's 
subjects." 



166 TllK LAW Of SEUIIION". 

It will be seen at once tliat section 153A, has many inci; 
dents in common with section 124A, with w^hich it was once 
incorporated. The same principle underlies both provisions, 
and it may be doubted whether the separation of the two has 
been attended with advantages which are at all commensurate 
with the disadvantage of creating a divergence between the 
English and the Indian systems of law, when the object of 
amending the law was admittedly to bring the two systems. 
into closer accord. 

It has to be borne in mind that in England the offence of 
promoting class-hatred is, as it has always been, treated as 
sedition, and therefore the general principles of the law of 
sedition (see Chs. ii-iii) would be applicable. But even in India, 
where a distinction has been created, the resemblance between 
the two provisions is so strong, that the same principles (see 
Chs. viii-xii), mutatis mutandis, may be presumed to apply 
equally to both. 

They are after all only branches of the same law. As 
already mentioned, the sanction of Government is essential 
to a prosecution under this section, and all the other incidents 
of procedure which are applicable to trials for sedition (see 
Ch. xi), are also applicable to it, except as regards jurisdiction. 
, Oflfences falling under section 153 A are triable by Presidency 
or First-class Magistrates, whose powers are regulated by sec- 
tion 32 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This section im- 
poses a limit of two years' imprisonment and a fine of one 
thousand rupees. 

The principles of the law of Abetment are likewise appli- 
cable to this offence. These have been fully discussed in a pre- 
vious chapter (see CJi. xii). 

Prosecutions under section 153A have been less frequent 
than those for sedition under section 124A, and very few of 
these have come before a High Court. Appeals from the juris- 
diction of Magistrates of the First class lie to the Sessions Judge 
and not to the High Court, unless specially provided for, as 
in the case of sedition (s. 408(c) Cr. P. C). Appeals from a 
Presidency Magistrate ordinarily lie to the High Court, but only 
if the sentence imposed exceeds six months' imprisonment or 
two hundred rupees' fine (s. 411). 



COGNATE OFFENCES. 167 

A conviction by a Magistrate under section 153A, there- 
fore, can only come before a Higli Court for revision, 
unless an appeal be specially transferred as in the case of the 
Rung'pur Bartabaha before mentioned (see Cli- ix). In this case 
separate convictions and sentences had been imposed on the 
printer and editor of the paper, at one and the same trial, under 
sections 124A and 153A, by the District Magistrate of Rung- 
pur. Appeals in respect of the former section were preferred 
to the High Court, while those under the latter section were 
preferred to the Sessions Judge of Rungpur. The learned 
Judges who heard the first, transferred the other appeals 
(Nos. 746 A and 746B of 1910) for hearing to themselves. 
In disposing of the four appeals concurrently their lordships 
affirmed the convictions under section 124A and set aside 
those under section 153 A, holding that no distinct offence of 
attempting to incite one class against another had been made 
out. 

The article upon which the convictions under section 
153A were based has been already referred to in a previous 
chapter. It was, in fact, one of the three articles which formed 
the subject of the charge under section 124A, while certain 
passages in it indicated, in the opinion of the Magistrate, an 
intention "to stir up feelings of hatred between different classes 
of His Majesty's subjects." The classes referred to were in the 
first place Hindus and Mahomedans, and in the second 
Europeans and natives. 

The passages in the 'article entitled Sipahir Katha which 
appear to have been relied on were as follows : — ' ' We 
thought that when we had told them news of the Parliament, 
of His Excellency the Governor-General of India, of great 
men of our country — when we told them who attacked His 
Excellency and who made an attempt on the life of His 
Honour the Lieutenant-Governor — and lastly when we told 
them also of the nine Bengali virtuous men who had been 
deported, of Madanlal Dhingra, Khudiram, Arabindo, Baren, 
and others too, we had told them satisfactorily, and we thought 
that we had strengthened their determination in favour of 
Swadeshi. But, alas, we stood speechless when we heard what 
they said in reply. ' Babu,' said the Sepoy, 'most of you are 



168 



THE LAW OF SEDITION. 



thieves. You will serve under the Government and fill your 
stomach. How shall you then serve your country ? Whenever 
we approach you for employment you ask for money. It is 
your habit to earn money by disreputable and imfair means.' 
' You agitate and exult only in words, and say that a Maho- 
medan is your brother. It is you that cause litigation in the 
country and absorb the money of the Mahomedans. It is you 
that are pleaders and muktears. it is you again that in going to 
rescue the poor Mahomedans from litigation throw them into 
the danger of Khumbhipaka (hell). It is you that are appro- 
priating everything, from the wife's ornaments to the bullocks 
of the plough.' ' But your aspiration is only to plume your- 
selves on being Government servants, and to suck the blood of 
the poor people like ourselves. How can we expect ever to 
be able to act in concert with you ? ' " 

The second passage was as follows : — ' ' You will play 
the role of the clergymen who say ' You were created by God, 
you are my brothers.' As soon as a Bengali is converted to 
Christianity, the sahib employs him in the kitchen or the garden 
on a monthly pay of five rupees, and soon after, the old long- 
cherished feeling of contempt for the dark-skinned fellows is 
roused for ever.' " 

The comment of the learned Judges upon this matter 
was as follows : — "The offence under section 153A is not so 
clear, as there does not seem to be any deliberate attempt 
to incite one class against another. The Sepoys inveigh both 
against Baboos and Miyahs, as robbing the poor Mahomedan 
raiyats, and the reference to the missionaries is a foolish 
illustration not intended to create enmity between the 
missionaries and any other subjects of the King. The convic- 
tion under this section must therefore be set aside. This dis- 
poses of both the appeals by the prisoner." A similar 
order was made in the appeal of the printer (No. 746B 
of 1910). 

In the case of Leahut Hossein Khan and Ahdul Gaffur v. 
Emperor (App. No. 214 of 1908), which has been already re- 
ferred to (see Ch. xii), the appellants had also been convicted 
under both sections, by the Sessions Judge of Backergunge. 
On appeal it was held by the High Court that no distinct offence 



COGNATE OFFENCES. lt)9 

had been established under section 153A, and the convictions 
under that section were accordingly set aside, while those under 
section 124A were affirmed. 

The passage in the seditious leaflet (see Ch. xii) on which 
the former conviction was based was as follows : — ' ' Oh 
true believers (Oh Musulmans), do not make friends with 
Jews and Christians I By Christians is meant the Christian 
race." 

" We do not consider," their lordships said, " that the 
offence charged under section 153A has been made out. The 
passage in the leaflet relating to Jews and Christians, on which 
alone it can be based, is used only to enforce previous sugges- 
tions ; and otherwise there seems to be no attempt to promote 
leelings of enmity between different classes which is not covered 
by our findings as to the attempt to promote disaffection." 

No better proof could be wanted of the close affinity 
between these two offences. 

Another offence which also belongs to this class is that 
comprised in section 505 of the Penal Code. It consists in cir- 
culating mischievous reports for certain evil purposes. The 
provision had existed from the first, but in 1898 it was found 
necessary to recast it in its present form. 

In proposing the amendment the Law Member said : — 
*' Section 505 of the Penal Code deals with a cognate class of 
offences. It punishes the dissemination of certain false state- 
ments and rumours which are conducive to public mischief." 
The Hon'ble Member then quoted the section as it stood 
originally, with the words 'whoever circulates or publishes any 
statement, rumour or report which he knows to be false', and 
continued — " In its present form this provision is unworkable. 
It is impossible for the prosecution to show^ that the person who 
circulated the false statement knew it to be false. We propasa 
therefore to repeal and re-enact this section in more precise 
terms, making the publication of these obnoxious statements 
punishable, but allowing the accused to show that the mischiev- 
ous statement or rumour was true in fact, and was not pub- 
lished or circulated with a criminal intent. It may be said, 
and indeed it has been urged upon us, that this is not going far 
enough. If a man chooses to publish statements which are 



170 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

likely to incite our soldiers to mutiny, or to cause people to 
commit offences against the law, be ought to be punished 
whether his statements are true or false, and without regard 
to his private intentions. There is much force in this argu- 
ment, but we should be unwilling to punish a man under thia 
section for making a statement which is true, when he publishes 
or circulates that statement without any criminal intent. The 
universal presumption of law is that a man is deemed to intend 
a result which is the ordinary and natural consequence of his 
act. When, then, a man chooses to publish a statement, or 
circulate a rumour, which on the face of it is directly conducive 
to grave public mischief, he cannot complain if he is called 
upon to show that his intentions were not criminal." 

The proposal to shift the burden of proving the truth of a 
statement on to the accused excited apprehension in certain quar- 
ters. Some supposed that it was intended thereby to restrict 
the assertion of veritable facts, though the language they 
employed in expressing their objections might have been less 
ambiguous. Sir Griffith Evans in alluding to this in Council 
said: — " Some of the objections have been met, and some it 
will be more convenient to consider when we come to the pro- 
posed amendments. I will notice one. It is said 'The time 
has not come to prohibit the telling of the truth in India."' 
On this he quaintly observed: — "There is no denying the 
humour of this comment." 

The Select Committee, however, made an alteration in the 
new provision, which certainly seems to remove all possible 
objection. This they explained as follows: — "We have 
inserted the clause proposed by the Government, but we have 
altered and enlarged the scope of the exception to the clause. 
No doubt the statements, rumours, and reports referred to are 
of a highly mischievous character, but having regard to the 
conditions under which modern journalism and the discussion 
of public questions are necessarily carried on, we think that, 
when the statement, rumour, or report is published without any 
criminal intent, it is going too far to require the person who 
published it to prove its actual truth. To require such proof 
might be throwing an impossible burden upon him, and it 
should be sufficient for him to show that he had reasonable 



COGNATE OFFENCES. 171 

grounds for believing it, as, for instance, by showing that lie 
made due inquiry before he published it." 

In referring to these liberal concessions the Hon'ble Member 
in charge said : — ' ' In section 505 the Select Committee have 
made a considerable modification. As the clause now stands 
I think it need cause no apprehension to any speaker or journalist 
who acts in good faith. It must be borne in mind that the clause 
does not strike at mischievous and mendacious reports gener- 
ally. It is aimed only at reports calculated to produce 
mutiny, or to induce one section of the population to commit 
offences against another. If a man takes upon himself to 
circulate such a report, he surely cannot complain if he is asked 
to show that his intentions were innocent, and that he had 
reasonable grounds for believing the report." 

The provision thus modified was passed by Act IV of 1898, 
and took its place in the Penal Code in lieu of the former 
section. The new section is as follows : — 

" 505. Whoever makes, publishes or 

Statements conducins • i , i. j. i. 

to public mischief. Circulates any statement, rumour or 
report, — 

(a) with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, any 

officer, soldier or sailor in the army or navy of 
Her Majesty or in the Royal Indian Marine or 
in the Imperial Service Troops to mutiny or other- 
wise disregard or fail in his duty as such ; or 

(b) with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear 

or alarm to the public, whereby any person may 
be induced to commit an offence against the State 
or against the public tranquillity ; or 

(c) w^ith intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any 

class or community of jiersons to commit any 
offence against any other class or community ; 
shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to two 
years, or with fine, or wnth both. 

Excevtion. — It does not amount to an offence, within the 
meaning of this section, when the person making, publishing or 
circulating any such statement, rumour or report has reason- 
able grounds for believing that such statement, rumour or 



172 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

teport is true, and makes, publishes or circulates it without 
any such, intent as aforesaid." 

It will be seen that to constitute an offence under this 
section it is not by any means essential that the statement 
circulated should be false ; nor would it be a complete defence to 
show that it was true. The gist of the offence seems to lie in 
the mischievous intent, which is specified in the three clauses 
to the section. The proper answer then, to a charge, would 
seem to be, first, the absence of any such criminal intent, and, 
secondly, reasonable grounds for believing that the statement 
was true, although in fact it might be false. 

The first mischief contemplated is tampering with the 
troops, and requires no explanation. 

The second clause has led to misapprehension. In the 
case of Manhir (3 C. W. N., 1), the accused had been convicted 
under section 505(6) for having circulated a false report among 
the coolies of a tea estate in the district of Darjeeling, which 
so alarmed them that about 150 of them ran away. It was 
held by the High Court that, though the act of the accused 
was no doubt mischievous and malicious, he was not punish- 
able under the section. 

" The mere causing of fear or alarm to the public," they 
said, "or to a section of the public, does not constitute an 
offence under section 505 — otherwise the accused would cer- 
tainly have been guilty — but it is necessary that the fear or 
alarm should be caused in such circumstances as to render it 
likely that a person may be induced to commit an offence against 
the State or against the public tranquillity." The hypothesis 
of the lower Court that the coolies might have done so, instead 
of running away, was too far-fetched to be taken into consid- 
eration. "The accused," they added, "cannot be taken to 
have intended more than what seems to us the probable result 
of the report which he circulated, the result which in fact did 
take place." The conviction was set aside. 

The third clause seems to bear a strong affinity with 
section 153A. In fact, the offence therein described is only a 
particular form of setting, or attempting to set, class against 
class, and might almost be held to be comprised in it. 



COGNATE OFf^ENCES. 173 

It should be mentioned that offences under sections 153A 
and 505 of the Penal Code are precisely on the same footing 
as regards procedure and jurisdiction. 

Sanction is necessary for a prosecution under section 505. 

The offence moreover is not cognisable by the Police, and 
is triable only by a Magistrate of the First class or a Presidency 
Magistrate. 

These are the Cognate offences. 



PART IT. 

PREVENTIVE LAW. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

ORIGIN AND HISTORY OP PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 

Preventive legislation may be said to have had its origin 
in India in the year 1823. Whatever may have been the 
causes which contributed to produce the fiist measure, there 
can be no doubt that Sir Thomas Munro's celebrated minute 
on the Indian Press had a good deal to do with it. 

On the 12th April, 1822, that distinguished statesman, then 
Governor of Madras, had occasion to put on record his views 
on this important subject, and the opinions which he then 
expressed, as the result of a unique experience, both military 
and civil, are still regarded as authoritative. But apart 
from this, its historical value can hardly be over-estimated, 
for ifc affords a striking picture of the conditions which 
prevailed in the country at the time it was written, and of the 
circumstances which preceded the legislation of the following 
year. 

This important record, which is entitled ' ' Danger of a 
Free Press in India," has been published in the memoir of the 
■distinguished governor by Sir A. Arbuthnot, himself a prom- 
inent figure in the Legislative Councils of India, and may be 
there referred to. It will suffice to cite here only the more 
important passages. 

" A great deal has of late been said," he wrote, " both in 
this country and in England, regarding the liberty of the 
Indian press ; and although nothing has occurred to bring the 
question regularly before the Board, yet as I think it one on 
which, according to the decision which may be given, the 
preservation of our dominion in India may depend, and as it 
appears to me desirable that the Honourable Court of Directors 
should be in possession of the sentiments of this Government 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 175 

at as early a period as possible, I deem it my duty to call the 
attention of the Board to the subject. 

' ' I cannot view the question of a free press in this country 
without feeling that the tenure with which we hold our power 
never has been and never can be the liberties of the people. 
I therefore consider it as essential to the tranquillity of the 
country and the maintenance of our government that all the 
present restrictions should be continued. Were the people all 
our own countrymen, I would prefer the utmost freedom of the 
press, but as they are, nothing could be more dangerous than 
such freedom. In place of spreading useful knowledge among 
the people, and tending to their better government, it would 
generate insubordination, insurrection, and anarchy. 

' ' Those who speak of the press being free in this country 
have looked at only one part of the subject. They have 
looked no further than to Englishmen, and to the press as a 
monopoly in their hands for the amusement or benefit of their 
countrymen. They have not looked to its freedom among the 
natives to be by them employed for whatever they also may 
consider to be for their own benefit and that of their country- 
men. A free press and the dominion of strangers are things 
which are quite incompatible, and which cannot long exist 
together. For what is the first duty of a free press ? It is 
to deliver the country from a foreign yoke, and to sacrifice to 
this one great object every meaner consideration ; and if 
we make the press really free to the natives as well as to 
Europeans, it must inevitably lead to this result. We might 
wish that the press should be used to convey moral and 
religious instruction to the natives, and that its efforts should 
go no further. They might be satisfied with this for a time, 
but would soon learn to apply it to political purposes, to 
compare their own situation and ours, and to overthrow our 
power. 

' ' The restraint on the press is very limited. It extends 
only to attacks on the character of Government and its officers, 
and on the religion of the natives. On all other points it is 
free. The removal of these restrictions could be of advan- 
tage to none but the proprietors of newspapers. It is their 
business to sell their papers, and they must fill them with such 



176 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

articles as are most likely to answer this purpose. Nothing in, 
a newspaper excites so much interest as strictures on the 
conduct of Government or its officers ; but this is more 
peculiarly the case in India, where, from the smallness of the 
European society, almost all the individuals composing it are 
known to each other, and almost every European may be said 
to be a public officer. The newspaper which censures most 
freely public men and measures, and which is most personal 
in its attacks, will have the greatest sale. 

" The law, it may be supposed, would be able to correct 
any violent abuse of the liberty of the press ; but this would not 
be the case. The petty jury are shop-keepers and mechanics, 
a class not holding in this country the same station as in 
England — a class by themselves, not mixing with the merchants 
or the civil and military servants, insignificant in number, and 
having no weight in the community. They will never, how- 
ever differently the judge may think, find a libel in a newspaper 
against a public officer. Even if the jury could act without 
bias, the agitation arising from such trials in a small society 
Avould far outweigh any advantage they could produce. 

' ' Were we sure that the press would act only through the 
masses of the people, after the great body of them should have 
imbibed the spirit of freedom, the danger would be seen at a 
distance and there would be ample time to guard against it ; 
but from our peculiar situation in this country this is not what 
would take place, for the danger would come upon us from our 
native army, not from the people. In countries not under a 
foreign government the spirit of freedom usually grows up with 
the gradual progress of early education and knowledge among 
the body of the people : this is its natural origin, and were it to 
arise in this way in this country, while under our rule, its course 
would be quiet and uniform, unattended by any sudden commo- 
tion, and the change in the character and opinions of the people 
might be met by suitable changes in the form of our government. 
But we cannot with any reason expect this silent and tranquil 
revolution ; for, owing to the unnatural state in which India 
will be placed under a foreign government with a free press and 
a native army, the spirit of independence will spring up in this 
army, long before it is ever thought of among the people. 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 177 

" The high opinion entertained of us by the natives, and the 
deference and respect for authority which have hitherto pre- 
vailed among ourselves, have been the main cause of our success 
in this country, but when these principles shall be shaken or 
swept away by a free press, encouraged by our juries to become 
a licentious one, the change will soon reach and pervade the 
whole native army. I do not apprehend any immediate danger 
from the press. It would require many years before it could 
produce much effect on our native army. But though the 
danger be distant, it is not the less certain, and will inevitably 
overtake us if the press become free. The liberty of the press 
and a foreign yoke are already stated to be quite incompati- 
ble : we cannot leave it free with any regard to our own 
safety. We cannot restrain it by trial by jury, because, from 
the nature of juries in this country, public officers can never be 
tried by their peers. No jury will ever give a verdict against 
the publisher of any libel upon them, however gross it may be. 
The press must be restrained either by a censor, or by the 
power of sending home at once the publisher of any libellous 
or inflammatory paper at the responsibility of Government, 
without the Supreme Court having authority, on any plea 
whatever, to detain him for a single day. 

"Such restrictions as those proposed will not hinder the 
progress of knowledge among the natives, but rather insure it, 
by leaving it to follow its natural course, and protecting ib 
against military violence and anarchy. Its natural course is 
not the circulation of newspapers and pamphlets among 
the natives immediately connected with Europeans, but 
education gradually spreading among the body of the people, 
and difiusing moral and religious instruction through every 
class of the community. 

" If we take a contrary course — if we, for the sole benefit 
of a few European editors of newspapers, permit a licentious 
press to undermine among the natives all respect for the 
European character and authority, we shall scatter the seeds 
of discontent among our native troops, and never be secure 
from insurrection. We are trying an experiment nevei yet tried 
in the world, — maintaining a foreign dominion by means of a 
native army, and teaching that army, .through a free press, 

D, LS 22 



178 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

that they ought to expal us and deliver their country. As far as 
Europeans only, whether in or out of the service, are concerned, 
the freedom or restriction of the press could do little good or 
harm, and would hardly deserve any serious attention. It is only 
as regards the natives that the press can be viewed with appre- 
hension, and it is only when it comes to agitate our native 
army that its terrible effects will be felt. Many people, both in 
this country and in England, will probably go on admiring the 
efiorts of the Indian press, and fondly anticipating the rapid 
extension of knowledge among the natives, while a tremendous 
revolution, originating in this very press, is preparing, which 
will, by the premature and violent overthrow of our power, 
disappoint all those hopes, and throw India back into a state 
more hopeless of improvement than when we first found her. 

" Though I consider the danger as still very distant, I 
think that we cannot be too early in taking measures to avert 
it : and I trust that the Honourable the Court of Directors will 
view the question of the press in India as one of the most 
important that ever came before them, and the establishment 
of such an engine — unless under the most absolute control 
of their Governments — as dangerous in the highest degree to 
the existence of the British power in this country." 

On the 14th of March, 1823, a ' ' Rule, Ordinance, and 
Regulation for the good order and civil government of the 
Settlement of Fort William in Bengal ' ' was passed in Council, 
and registered in the Supreme Court of Judicature on the 4th 
of April following. 

On the 5th of April, 1823, a ' ' Regulation for preventing 
the establishment of Printing-presses, without license, and for 
restraining under certain circumstances, the circulation of 
printed books and papers," was passed by the Governor-General 
in Council. This was Regulation III of 1823, and its sphere 
of operation was " the territories immediately subordinate to 
the presidency of Fort William." 

Its immediate effect was to place the entire Press — in the 
words of Sir Thomas Munro — ' under the absolute control 
of the Governnaent.' The new measure prohibited, under a 
penalty of one thousand rupees, the printing of any book or 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OP PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 179 

paper, or the possession or use of any printing-press or mate- 
rials for printing, without a license from Government. Appli- 
cations for such licenses, containing a true and complete des- 
cription of the applicant and ' ' verified on oath or solemn obli- 
gation," could be made through the local magistrate. The 
Governor-General in Council might grant or withhold the 
license, at his discretion. In any case the grant was conditional, 
and might at any time be withdrawn. 

The use of a printing-press or materials for printing, after 
notice of withdrawal of a license, involved a fine of one 
thousand rupees, as well as forfeiture of the press and all printed 
matter found on the premises. All books and papers printed 
under license were required to bear the name and residence of 
the printer, anfl to be submitted for inspection. The circula- 
tion of any newspaper or book might be prohibited by notice 
in the Government Gazette. The wilful circulation of such 
paper or book after notice, was visited with fine, or in default 
to imprisonment. 

In Bombay, two years later, a " Rule, Ordinance, and 
Regulation for preventmg the mischief arising from the printing 
and publishing Newspapers, and Periodical and other books 
and papers by persons unknown," was passed by the Governor 
in Council on the 2nd March, 1825. This, in like manner, was 
followed by a" Regulation for restricting the establishment 
of Printing-presses and the circulation of printed books and 
papers," which was passed by the Governor of Bombay in 
Council on the 1st January, 1827. 

These Regulations, which are now only of historical 
interest, continued in force until the 15th of September, 1835, 
when they were repealed and replaced by Act XI of that year. 
The reasons for the repeal of these Regulations, Rules and 
Ordinances, and the substitution of a less exacting system of 
control over the Press are to be found in the minutes of the 
Governor-General of India Sir Charles Metcalfe, and his Law 
Member Mr. Macaulay. These minutes, though frequently re- 
ferred to in subsequent discussions on Press legislation, have 
never been o£B.cially published. They may, however, be re- 
ierred to in the original manuscript, with the permission of the 
Government. 



180 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

It is unnecessary to allude to them here, further than to- 
mention that the reasons stated by Sir Charles Metcalfe, in his 
minute of the 17th April 1835, were — first, that in his opinioa 
' the Press ought to be free, if consistently with the safety of 
the State it could be ; ' and secondly, that ' it was practically 
free.' for the existing restrictions were never put in force, and. 
' the Government had no intention of enforcing them.' 

But he went on to add that a simple repeal of these res- 
trictions would not be enough, and that they were compelled 
to substitute for them ' an enactment for the purpose of making 
printers and publishers accessible to the laws of the land.' 

The measure proposed, which had been drawn by the 
Hon'ble Mr. Macaulay, was explained by him as an ' Act to 
establish a perfect uniformity in the laws regarding the Press 
throughout the Indian Empire.' ' Every person,' he said, 
' who chose would be at liberty to set up a newspaper without, 
applying for previous permission, but no person would be able 
to print or publish sedition or calumny without imminent risk 
of punishment.' The Hon'ble Mr. Prinsep while giving his 
assent to the Bill observed that ' the late Governor-General,. 
Lord William Bentinck, had regarded the existing Press Laws 
as good materials to have available in case the necessity should, 
arise for State interference.' ' It would be very wrong,' he 
thought, ' to take any step calculated to tie the hands of the 
Government hereafter, or to deprive it of any of its authority 
in such a matter. But, as Mr. Macaulay had said, the Council 
had but to decide, and a law suitable to any emergency could 
be produced in a day.' He regarded the existing provisions 
' as inefiicient as they were inoperative, ' and therefore assented 
to their repeal, ' leaving future measures, so far as concerned 
the security and protection of the Government against the 
Press, to be determined in the future as circumstances might 
arise to call for legislation or other interference.' 

Another Member, with apparently more pronounced mis- 
givings, proposed the addition of a saving clause which should 
have the effect of safeguarding the Government in any emer- 
gency. Sir Charles Metcalfe, however, remov^ed all apprehen- 
sions by stating that ' the power of providing for the safety 
of the State was inherent in the Legislature and the Govern- 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 181 

ment of every country, and that it was not probable that the 
■safety of the State would be endangered so suddenly, by any 
operations of the Press, as not to afEordtime to the Legislative 
Council to apply a remedy.' ' But,' he added, ' if such an 
extreme case of sudden and imminent danger could be con- 
ceived, what Government would hesitate to protect itself until 
the Legislature of India could provide for the case ? ' 

The new measure, which was the first Press Act introduced 
for the whole of India, was obviously drawn by the Law Member 
on the lines of the Statute 38 Geo. Ill, c. 78, which was ' ' An 
Act for preventing the mischiefs arising from the printing and 
publishing Newspapers and Papers of a like nature by persons 
not known, and for regulating the printing and publication of 
such Papers in other respects." 

Act XI of 1835, which was intended to substitute a system 
■of Registration for the system of Licenses then in vogue, was 
a short Act of nine sections. The first section purported to 
repeal the four Regulations mentioned above, while the re- 
maining eight sections provided the new rules which were to 
operate in place of them. 

It was enacted in section 2, that after the 15th September, 
1835, ' ' no printed Periodical work whatever, containing public 
news or comments on public news, shall be published within 
the Territories of the East India Company, except in conformity 
with the rules hereinafter laid down." By these rules every 
printer and publisher of any periodical work was obliged, under 
a penalty, to sign and file before a magistrate a declaration in 
a particular form, setting forth " a true and precise account 
of the premises " wherein his printing or publishing was carried 
on, and to renew the same as often as the premises were 
changed. Printing or publishing any such periodical without 
conforming to these rules involved, on conviction, a fine of 
five thousand rupees as well as imprisonment extending to two 
years. 

Section 5 provided that the production of a duly attested 
copy of such declaration in any proceeding, civil or criminal, 
was primx facie evidence of the responsibility of the declarant 
for the publication of " every portion of every Periodical 
work whereof the title shall correspond with the title of the 



182 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Periodical work mentioned in tlie said declaration." A 
declaration miglit, however, be revoked by a fresh declaration 
to that effect under section 6. 

A similar declaration was required by section 8 from the 
owner of a printing-press, and the breach of this rule likewise 
involved the liability to a fine of five thousand rupees and 
imprisonment extending to two years. 

Every book or paper was moreover required to bear the 
name and place of the printer and publisher. The neglect of 
this rule was visited with a like penalty. A false declaration 
was similarly punished. 

These provisions were re-enacted in 1867, almost without 
modification, and incorporated with a new Press Act which is scill 
in force. They will be found reproduced in sections 3 to 8 and 
12 to 15 of Act XXV of 1867 (see Appx.). It may therefore 
be said that the provisions enacted in 1835 have continued in 
force, practically undisturbed by any intermediate legislation, 
down to the present day. 

A period of twenty -two years elapsed before the Press was 
affected by any fresh legislation, but the events of the year 
1857 rendered further legislation of some kind imperatively 
necessar3^ On the 13th of June of that year the Legislative 
Council met to consider matters of " pressing and paramount 
importance." 

His Excellency Lord Canning, the President, addressed 
the Council as follows : — " Those whom I have the honor to 
address are well acquainted with the present aspect of public 
affairs. The general disaffection of the Bengal Army in the 
North- Western Provinces ; the lawlessness and violence of the 
evil-minded part of the population to which this disaffection 
has given opportunity and encouragement ; the pillage, the heart- 
rending loss of life, and the uprooting of all order in that part 
of the country, are painfully notorious. I will not dwell upon 
them. Neither will I trace the causes which have led to these 
calamitous results, or describe the means by which the Gov- 
ernment is meeting and repressing them. But there is one 
quarter to which I desire to direct the attention of the Council 
— a quarter from which the evil influences which now pervade 
so many minds have been industriously put in motion, and to 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 183 

whicli a large portion of the discontent instilled into our troops 
and our ordinarily harmless and peaceable community is attri- 
butable. I doubt whether it is fully understood or known to 
what an audacious extent sedition has been poured into 
the hearts of the native population of India within the last few 
weeks, under the guise of intelligence supplied to them by the 
native newspapers." 

"It has been done," his Excellency continued, "sedu- 
lously, cleverly, artfully. Facts have been grossly misrepre- 
sented — so grossly, that with educated and informed minds 
the very extravagance of the misrepresentations must compel 
discredit. But to native readers of all classes, scattered through 
the country, imperfectly acquainted with the proceedings of 
the Government, and not well instructed as to what is passing 
even immediately around them, these misrepresentations come 
uncontradicted, and are readily credited. In addition to per- 
version of facts, there are constant vilifications of the Govern- 
ment, false assertions of its purposes, and unceasing attempts 
to sow discontent and hatred between it and its subjects." 

" Against such poisoned weapons," his Excellency went 
on to add, " I now ask the Legislative Council to give to the 
Executive Government the m.eans of protecting itself, its army, 
and its subjects ; and I know no means by which this can be 
effectually accomplished other than a law which shall give to 
the Executive Government a more absolute and summary 
control over the Press than it now has in its hands. With this 
view I propose to introduce a Bill this day. The measure is 
framed upon the principle that no press shall exist without a 
license from the Government ; that the license shall be granted by 
the Governor-General in Council under such conditions as he 
may think fit ; that on the infraction of any of these conditions, 
it shall be in the power of the Governor-General in Council, 
and, in distant parts of the Empire, of local governments to 
whom he may delegate the authority, to withhold such license, 
or, if one has been already granted, to recall it. One of the 
sections provides that the Bill shall have effect for one year 
only. At the end of that period, the subject will again be 
before the Legislative Council, and the Legislative Council will 
know how to deal with it according to the circumstances of the 



184 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

moment. It is also provided that the Bill shall be applicable, 
not only to Bengal, but to all India. I also propose that the 
Act shall extend to all periodical and other publications, Euro- 
pean as well as Native, whatever their condition or character. 
I do not see any reason, nor do I consider it possible in justice 
to draw a line of demarcation between European and native 
publications. The Bill accordingly applies to every kind of 
publication, whatever the language in which it may be printed^ 
or the nation of the persons who are responsible for what is 
put forth in it." 

His Excellency concluded in the following terms: — "I 
cannot conceal from the Council that I have proposed this 
measure with extreme reluctance. It is one which no man 
bred in the atmosphere of English public life can propose to those 
who are vested with the high authority of legislating for English 
dominions, without some feelings of compunction and hesi- 
tation. But there are times in the existence of every State in 
which something of the liberties and rights which it jealously 
cherishes and scrupulously guards in ordinary seasons, must 
be sacrificed for the public welfare." 

The Chief Justice, Sir James Colvile, in supporting the 
Bill said that " the gravity of the step which the Council was 
about to take could not be denied. It was called upon sud- 
denly to suspend a privilege which had now been enjoyed for 
nearly a quarter of a century by the population of this country 
— a privilege to which all Englishmen were naturally and 
strongly attached. Having heard the statement of his Lord- 
ship to-day, he thought it right emphatically to declare that 
he was ready to take his share of the responsibility involved 
in the adoption of the measure. The freedom of the Press, 
like any other privilege, was to be prized onl}^ in so far as it 
conduced to the public good." 

The Hon'ble Mr. Peacock in referring to the penalties pro- 
vided in the Bill, explained that " by Act XI of 1835 a much 
higher penalty was provided for a much smaller offence." 

The Bill was passed the same day. and remained in 
operation for a year, as Act XV of 1857. 

This Act, so frequently referred to in subsequent discus- 
sions as a temporary suspension of the liberty of the Press, 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 185 

merely re-enacted, with slight modifications, the provisions 
of Regulation III of 1823, for the whole of India. At the same 
time the provisions of Act XI of 1835 were expressly main- 
tained. It therefore restored the system of licenses, already 
referred to, without disturbing the later system of registration 
then in force, and this for the space of a single year. 

The next step in ^Press legislation was Act XXV of 1867. 
This Act had originally been intended to provide rules for 
the preservation and registration of books only, but at a later 
stage the BUI was altered so as to include the provisions of Act 
XI of 1835, as already mentioned, although as a fact they could 
hardly be considered in pari materia. The Hon'ble Mr. Hob- 
house who was in charge of the Bill thus explained it : — ' ' It 
was considered advisable," he said, " when the Bill was being 
considered in Committee, to repeal and re-enact in the Bill a 
cognate law on the subject of printing-presses and the regis- 
tration of periodicals. It would therefore be observed that 
sections 3 to 8 of the amended Bill were simply re-enactments 
of Act No. XI of 1835 relating to printing-presses and periodi- 
cals, and that sections 12 to 15 were also repetitions of the 
same law, but in these latter sections there had been an amend- 
ment of some value. Under Act No. XI of 1835 a person 
guilty of infringement of the Act was liable to fine and impris- 
onment, but that was considered a very severe penalty, and, 
in accordance with the provisions of the Penal Code, it had 
Ijeen altered to fine or imprisonment, or both." 

The provisions of the Press Act of 1867, so far as they 
relate to the Press, are contained in Part II, ss. 3 — 9, and in 
Part IV, ss. 12 — 15, the portions in fact which were taken from 
the Press Act of 1835. Although the Act was amended sub- 
sequently (by Act X of 1890), these portions remained undis- 
turbed. 

Part II of the Act contains the salutary rules, so frequently 
referred to in previous chapters, for obtaining declarations 
from printers and publishers and the owners of printing-presses, 
and for the registration of their names. Section 7 makes 
such declarations primi facie evidence of the liability of the 
declarant, whether printer or publisher, for the publication 



186 



THE LAW OP SEDITION. 



of every portion of the matter appearing in the periodical 
mentioned therein. 

Part IV provides the penalties for breach of the rules 
contained in Part II. Offences against the Press law are, 
shortly, — keeping or using a printing-press without having made 
a declaration ; making any false declaration ; and printing or 
publishing any book or paper without disclosing the name of 
the printer or publisher, and the place of publication (see Appx.). 

In the year 1870, it will be remembered, the offence of 
sedition was added to the Penal Code (see Ch. i). In 1876, how- 
ever, another preventive measure was introduced, and this time 
with a view to establish a better control over the Stage. This 
was the ' Dramatic Performances Act ' (XIX of 1876), intended 
to prevent performances of a seditious or scandalous nature. 

The necessity for legislation of this character was ex- 
plained by the Hon'ble Mr. Hobhouse, when introducing the 
Bill on the 14th March, as follows: — "The subject of stage 
plays," he said, " is one on which our law stands in need of 
amendment. If, indeed, a play is of a defamatory, an obscene, 
or a seditious character, those Avho exhibit it may be punished 
for the offence of defamation, obscenity, or sedition. But the 
Government have been advised that they have no power to 
prevent the performance of any such play, unless, indeed, in 
the very rare instances in which it could be said that it was 
so certain to lead to a breach of the peace as to constitute the 
actors and audience an unlawful assembly." 

" This imperfection of our law," he added, " has been 
brought pointedly under our attention by some cases which 
have recently happened. In the course of last year there 
was composed a work in a dramatic form, called the ' Chd-ha- 
Darpan,'' which I am told means the Mirror of Tea. I do not 
know who was the author, or what his motives were, but the 
work itself was as gross a calumny as it is possible to conceive. 
The object was to exhibit as monsters of iniquity the tea 
planters and those who are engaged in promoting emigration 
to the tea districts, — bodies of men as well conducted as any 
in the empire. These gentlemen, who are carrying on their 
business to the benefit of everybody concerned, and perhaps 



ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 187 

with a greater proportion of benefit to the labourers they employ 
than to any body else, have what is called a mirror held up 
to them in which the gratification of vile passions, cruelty, 
avarice, and lust is represented as their ordinary occupation. 
I do not know that this play was ever acted, but it is written, 
and in all respects adapted for the stage, and it might, for any 
power of prevention the Government have, be acted at any 
moment." 

• " It was," he continued, " on account of the defect in 
the law that His Excellency the Viceroy thought it right to 
issue an Ordinance giving power to the Government of Bengal 
to prohibit objectionable performances of this kind. And it 
is a Bill on the model of that Ordinance which I am now asking 
leave to introduce." 

" Now in all times and countries," he went on to add," the 
drama has been found to be one of the strongest stimulants 
that can be applied to the passions of men. And in times of 
excitement no surer mode has been found of directing public 
feeling against an individual, a class, or a Government than to 
bring them on the stage in an odious light. It is doubtless for 
these reasons that the laws of civilised countries give to their 
Governments great controlling power over the stage. I will 
state briefly what is the law of England. By that law it is not 
lawful for any person to have or to keep any house or other 
place of public resort for the public performance of stage 
plays without the authority either of Royal Letters Patent or 
of the Lord Chamberlain's license, or of a license given by 
Justices of the Peace. Then there are rules requiring licensees 
to give bonds for good conduct, and there are powers given to 
the Lord Chamberlain and to the Justices to suspend licenses 
and to shut up theatres. The most stringent rule of all is the 
one which gives to the Lord Chamberlain complete control 
over the stage. First, it is required that a copy of every new 
play or alteration in a play shall, seven days before it is acted, 
be sent to the Lord Chamberlain, who has absolute discretion 
to allow or disallow its performance. Secondly, the Lord 
Chamberlain is empowered to forbid the acting of any play^ 
even though already put upon the stage, ' whenever he shall 
be of opinion that it is fitting for the preservation of good 



188 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

manners, decorum, or the peace, public so to do.' We shall 
not propose to take such large powers as those which are vested 
in the Lord Chamberlain, but shall propose to take what will 
probably be quite effective in this country." 

On a subsequent occasion the Hon'ble Member further 
explained the terms of the Bill as follows : — " What was 
proposed was that whenever the Government was of opinion 
that any dramatic performance was scandalous or defamatory, 
or likely to excite feelings of disaffection to the Government, 
or likely to deprave and corrupt the persons present at the 
performance, or to be in other ways prejudicial to the interests 
of the public, the Government might prohibit the performance. 
The Bill provided that a copy of the order might be served 
on the persons about to take part in the performance, or on 
the owner or occupier of the house or place in which it was to 
take place, and then penalties were imposed for disobedience 
to the order, and power was given to the Magistrate to seize 
the scenery, dresses and other articles which were used in 
the play which was prohibited. The powers conferred by 
section 10 were nearly the same as those which the Lord 
Chamberlain had in England. It was proposed that after 
notification in the particular place no dramatic performance 
should take place except in some licensed house ; that those 
about to perform should be bound to give prior notice to the 
Government, who might then prohibit the performance if they 
thought fit." 

When the Bill was finally considered, on the 6th December, 
1876, the Hon'ble Member, in answer to some of the objections 
raised, said : — ' ' There were many cases in which prevention 
was worth all the punishment in the world. That was parti- 
cularly true in times of excitement, and in cases where the 
play was of a seditious character. If the performance took 
place a few times, the mischief was done, and it was a poor 
satisfaction to punish the offenders afterwards." 

The Bill was passed as Act XIX of 1876, and is now 
in force (see Appx.). 



CHAPTER XVII. 

LATER PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 

Ix the year 1878 the Indian Press again engaged the atten- 
tion of the Government, and this time in a somewhat more 
prominent manner. The circumstances which led to the 
passing of what is known as the Vernacular Press Act are very 
fully set forth in the speech of the Hon'ble Member who intro- 
duced the Bill. 

Sir Alexander Arbuthnot in moving its introduction ex- 
plained the " considerations which influenced the Government 
in bringing forward this measure " as follows : — " The object 
of the Bill," he said, "is to place the native newspapers, or, 
to speak more correctly, the newspapers which are published 
in the vernacular languages of India, under better control, and 
to furnish the Government with more effective means than are 
provided by the existing law, of repressing seditious writings 
which are calculated to produce disaffection towards the 
Government in the minds of the ignorant and unenlightened 
masses. Another object is to check a system of extortion to 
which some of our native feudatories, and many of our native 
employes are exposed by the rapacity of unscrupulous native 
editors." 

" This measure," he added, " has not been resolved on 
without much reluctance, for, directed as it is against a parti- 
cular class, it involves a description of legislation which is oppos- 
ed to the traditions and repugnant to the principles upon which 
the administration of British India has been conducted during 
a long series of years, and which would not have been resorted 
to except for very cogent reasons. It is only because, in the 
opinion of the Government of India, the evil against which this 
measure is directed is one of great and increasing magni- 
tude ; because it is calculated to lower the prestige of the 
Government, and to weaken its hold on the esteem and affec- 
tions of its subjects ; and because the existing law does not 
furnish any adequate means of dealing with it. that the Govern- 



190 THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

ment have decided to have recourse to special measures for 
its repression." 

" When the Press of India," he continued, "was liber- 
ated by the Government of Sir Charles Metcalfe from the res- 
trictions which had previously been imposed upon it, and when 
it was placed in a position of freedom from State interference, 
which, with the exception of one brief interval of a "single year, 
it has occupied since 1835, the native Press was a thing of com- 
paratively little importance. In one of the minutes written 
at that time Mr. Macaulay states that the papers printed in 
the languages of India were few, and exercised very little influ- 
ence over the native mind. The entire circulation of native 
newspapers throughout the country did not then exceed three 
hundred copies. Since those days a great change has taken 
place. Newspapers printed in the vernacular languages are 
published in most of the large towns in Bengal, Bombay, the 
North- Western Provinces and the Punjab, are read and studied 
by considerable numbers of people, and exert an influence over 
the popular mind which it is difficult to exaggerate. It is not 
my wish to include the whole of the native press in the charge 
which I am about to prefer against individual members of it. 
I know that that Press includes many respectable papers which 
are doing useful work, and which are entitled to every encourage- 
ment that the State can afford to them. It is not against this 
class of newspapers that the present measure is directed. 
But there is a large and increasing class of native news- 
papers which would seem to exist only for the sake of spread- 
ing seditious principles, of bringing the Government and its 
European officers into contempt, and of exciting antagonism 
between the governing race and the people of the country. 
This description of writing is not of very recent growth, but 
there has been a marked increase in it of late, and especially 
during the last three or four years. During the past twelve 
months it has been worse than ever, the writers gaining in 
boldness as they find that their writings are allowed to pass 
unpunished. Their principal topics are the injustice and tyranny 
of the British Government, its utter want of consideration 
towards its native subjects, and the insolence and pride of 
Englishmen in India, both official and non-official. There is 



LATER PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 191 

no crime, however heinous, and no meanness however vile, 
which according to these writers is not habitually practised by 
their English rulers." 

The Hon'ble Member then proceeded to illustrate his 
argument with examples, and continued: — "The extracts 
which I have read, are specimens, extracted haphazard from a 
great number, of the manner in which the British Grovernment 
and the English race are habitually aspersed and held up to 
the contempt and hatred of the people of India. Of late, 
however, a further step has been taken, and a beginning has 
been made in the direction of inciting the people to upset the 
British Raj by denunciations, sometimes open and sometimes 
covert, of the alleged weakness and timidity of the English, 
and their inability to maintain their present position in 
India." 

" It cannot be said," he went on to add, " that the 
state of things which has arisen has taken the Government 
altogether by surprise. That such a state of things would be 
one of the results of granting complete freedom to the Press 
in this country was predicted many years ago by men whose 
honoured names have long been household words in Anglo- 
Indian history. I doubt not that many of the members of 
this Council are acquainted wuth the remarkable minute which 
Sir Thomas Munro, one of the ablest of the many able states- 
men who have aided in consolidating British rule in India, 
recorded on this subject in 1822. I well remember the interest 
with which this minute was reperused at the time of the 
Mutiny, and how impossible it was not to be struck by the 
almost prophetic character of the utterances which it contained. 
I do not rest my argument on the policy of restriction advo 
cated by Sir Thomas Munro ; I rest it upon the opinions of men 
who were parties to the policy of liberation which was carried 
out in 1835, and who, it is evident from their writings, did not 
overlook the possibility that such a state of things might arise 
as that with which the Government of India are now called 
upon to deal. Both Sir Charles Metcalfe and Mr. Macaulay, 
the one the originator and the other the draughtsman and elo- 
quent defender of the Act of 1835, while arguing strongly in 
favour of a free Press, advert to the possibility of circumstances 



292 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

arising which might compel the Government of the day to resort 
again to legislation of a restrictive character." 

"The existing law," he added, "is inadequate for the 
suppression of the evil which this Bill is intended to remedy. 
The existing law is contained in an Act of 1867, which provides 
for the registration of printing presses and newspapers, and in 
a section of the Indian Penal Code which makes seditious words 
or writings punishable. Now this section of the Penal Code 
really furnishes a very inadequate means of dealing with such 
writings as those with which this Bill is intended to deal. In 
the first place, the explanation which has been added to the 
section renders the penalties inapplicable to any case in which 
there is not an obvious intention on the part of the writer to 
counsel resistance to, or subversion of the lawful authority of 
the Government. Therefore to much of the writing to which 
I have drawn the attention of the Council this law would not 
apply, for there is a great deal of it, which, though very 
mischievous in its effects, cannot be said to come under the 
category of counselling resistance to lawful authority or subver- 
sion of that authority. It will perhaps be said that if so, the 
proper course is to amend the Penal Code, and to provide 
therein suitable penalties for those who, without advising 
rebellion, inflame the minds of the people against their rulers. 
I am sure that the Council will not for a moment suppose that 
this very natural question has not been deliberately considered 
by the Government, but after the most careful reflection, and 
consultation with our Law Officers and with the Local Govern- 
ments, the conclusion which we have arrived at is that ne 
such amendment as could be made in a Penal Code, which is 
necessarily of general application, would adequately and 
properly meet the peculiar requirements of the present case." 

It will be remembered that previous to the legislation of 
1898 the Government were confronted with the same difficulty 
(see Ch. vii). On that occasion the alternative of amending 
the Penal Code was adopted in preference to a reversion to 
preventive legislation. 

" It would of course be possible," the Hon'ble Member 
continued, "to introduce into the Penal Code a provision 
rendering penal all writings calculated to inflame the minds of 



LATER PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 193 

the people against their rulers, irrespective of the intention of 
the writers, but such a provision must be of general applica- 
tion, and, like the rest of the Penal Code, it must be essentially 
punitive. The principle of the Bill which I desire to lay before 
the Council is a different principle. The provisions of the Bill 
will apply only to one class of writers, namely, the writers 
in the vernacular Press, and the measure is not so much a 
measure of penal, as it is a measure of preventive legislation. 
The machinery by which it will work is a machinery of checks, 
rather than of penalties. Its object is to check mischievous 
wT-itings of the nature of those to which I have alluded, not by 
penal sentences, but by requiring the offenders, or those in 
regard to whom it may be apprehended that they are likely to 
offend, to engage and deposit security for their good behaviour* 
or by merely warning them ; and it is only in the event of the 
engagements being broken, or the warnings being disregarded^ 
that the penalties which the Bill provides will be put in force. 
What is needed is a procedure more summary, and framed 
rather with a view to j;revention than with a view to punish- 
ment." 

In conclusion he said: — "In restricting the operation of 
this measure to the vernacular Press, and in exempting the 
English Press from its operation, the Government of India are 
taking a course which involves a departure from the policy by 
which it is usually guided, and indeed from the policy which 
has be3n followed in all previous legislation regarding the Press 
in India. I will not pretend to say that this part of the ques- 
tion is perfectly plain and simple, or that in advising the course 
•vhich we have determined on after very careful considerationji 
we are not laying ourselves open, in some degree at all events, 
to the charge of class legislation, and of making what by 
many will be regarded as an invidious distinction. It would 
have been very easy, but I do not think that it would have 
been just, to make the application of the Bill general, and 
or the sake of not laying ourselves open to the charge of 
creating invidious distinctions to include the English Press in 
its operation. My answer is that nearly forty-three years 
have elapsed since the passing of Sir Charles Metcalfe's Act^ 
and nearly twenty-one years since the passing of the Press 
D. LS 13 



194 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

law of 1857 ; that throughout that period the English Press 
has been, on the whole, a loyal and, notwithstanding many im- 
perfections, a valuable instrument and aid to the Government ; 
while for many years past, and especially in recent years, a 
section of the vernacular Press has been chiefly remarkable for 
its disloyalty. Such publications as those to which I have 
alluded appeal to the ignorant and the unenlightened. They 
influence and pervert the minds of the young, and go far to 
counteract the benefits of the education which we are endeav- 
ouring to impart to them. They constitute, in fact, a mis- 
chievous and poisonous literature, embarrassing to the adminis- 
tration, subversive of authority, and in every way injurious to 
those to whom it is addressed. In framing this measure in its 
present form the Government of India has been influenced by 
a consideration of the facts with which it has to deal, and after 
carefully weighing those facts it has come to the conclusion that 
it would not be right to inflict upon the most important and 
the most valuable section of the Press a liability to checks 
and penalties which it has in no way merited." 

" As Englishmen brought up in a free country and accus- 
tomed to the advantages of a free Press the members of the 
Government of India have no desire to place undue restrictions 
on the Press of India. In resolving on this measurt, they are 
entirely influenced by their sense of the necessities of the case, 
and of the responsibility which devolves upon them for the 
maintenance of authority and order." 

These are the main passages of a memorable speech which 
was delivered on a memorable occasion. 

The Advocate-General of Bengal also supported the Bill in 
forcible terms, as follows : — ' ' The privilege of writing and 
publishing with freedom is doubtless inestimable. So long as 
that privilege is exercised honestly and fairly, with a view to 
benefit society, and with reference to subjects of common and 
public interest, it will be cherished and maintained wherever 
free institutions exist and flourish. But the privilege itself is 
subject to this limitation, that it must not invade the un- 
doubted rights of others. In the case of private individuals 
and classes, their character and reputation must be respected ; 
and in the case of a Government, its constitution must not 



LATiCli PKEVENTIVE JMEASUKES. 195 

be wantonly attacked for purposes of injury and mischief, 
nor its good name maliciously aspersed. I have in my hand 
translations of upwards of one hundred and fifty extracts from 
papers published in the vernacular languages which I have read 
carefully, and that reading has satisfied me that these publi- 
cations contain matter under the following heads, — (1) Seditious 
libels, malicious and calumnious attacks on the Government, 
accusing it of robbery, oppression, and dishonesty, and im- 
puting to it bad faith, injustice and partiality ; (2) libels on 
Government officers ; (3) contemptuous observations on the 
administration of justice, pointing to its alleged impurity and 
worthlessnerfs ; (4) libels on the character of Europeans, attri- 
buting to them falsehood, deceit, cruelty, and heartlessness ; 

(5) libels on Christians and Christian Governments, and 
mischievous tendencies to excite race and religious antipathies ; 

(6) suggestions and insinuations which their authors believe fall 
short of seditious libels by reason of the absence of positive 
declarations." 

" In addition to these general characteristics," he contin- 
ued, " I find that mis-statements, exaggerations, and alle- 
gorical tales intended to sketch real incidents but based purely 
on imagination, have been introduced to support or give colour 
to the varied, and I might almost add inexhaustible, calum- 
nies to be met with. Having attentively' considered these 
extracts, I am irresistibly led to the conclusion that it is intend- 
ed by these publications to disseminate disaffection, to excite 
evil prejudices, to stir up discontent, and to produce mischief 
of the gravest order, in short, to render the Government, its 
officers, and Europeans generally, hateful to the people. These 
are evil purposes which should be repressed with a strong 
hand, and their contrivers restrained from all further attempts 
to administer their subtile poiscn to the lower orders of the 
people, to saturate their minds with evil thoughts, and to 
arouse their evil passions." This, it will be remembered, was 
the passage cited by Sir Griffith Evans in support of the Bill 
to amend the law of sedition in 1898 (see CJi. vii). 

"The evils to which I have adverted," the [Hon'ble 
Member continued, " are I fear too widespread to be checked 
or suppressed by prosecutions under the existing law, and, 



196 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

even if it be assumed that prosecutions would be effective in 
repressing them, it must be admitted that much time would be 
lost in applying such remedy and realising its salutary results. 
As time is of the very essence of every remedy by prevention 
and restraint, I am entitled to assert that prosecutions for all 
practical purposes will be found unavailing. The Bill before 
us contains provisions which I think are well calculated to sup- 
ply the desired remedy, and I maintain that the time has fairljr 
arrived for action — further forbearance may be fraught with 
danger. It may be alleged that the provisions of the Pill 
are stringent, but I consider that the means to be used for the 
suppression and extinction of the evil courses to which the 
newspapers under notice have resorted should be as powerful 
and effective as if the Government were called upon to deal 
with a plague, a pestilence, or other grievous calamity. In. 
the course of my professional career I have been a zealous and 
unflinching advocate of the freedom of the Press, and I have 
the satisfaction of believing that, in according my support to 
the present Bill, I am in no way departing from a firm 
adherence to the true principles which regulate that freedom. 
To protect and encourage journalism conducted with ordinary 
care and for honest purposes might be deemed a privilege. 
To curb by reasonable and necessary means the unbridled 
license of obnoxious and degraded publications, which seek to 
spread disaffection and dissatisfaction, — and which may be 
used by wicked and designing men to produce discontent 
amongst the poor and ignorant to their own detriment, and to 
denounce them fearlessly, should be considered by every riglit- 
thinking man and by every true citizen an imperative public 
duty." 

The Bill was likewise supported by the Hon'ble Mr. Evans- 
who said: — "I should always view with great jealousy any 
restraint upon personal liberty and freedom of speech which 
did not appear to be necessary for' the safety or well-being of 
the community, but I give my unqualified assent to this Bill, 
stringent as its provisions are, for I think it necessary under 
the existing state of things. No person can claim to have any 
right to follow the trade or calling of spreading disaffection, or 
extorting money. An unceasing stream of false and malicious 



LATER PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 



197 



charges is being daily poured out by the vernacular Press against 
the English Government and the English race. The poor and 
ignorant millions are told that all their misfortunes are due to 
England and the English, who cruelly and heartlessly oppress 
them, and the prospect of better days is held out to them if 
they could only be quit of their oppressors. Thus their minds 
are poisoned and their contentment destroyed, and they are 
left ready tools for plotters and conspirators. Believing that 
the evil is great and the necessity for its immediate abatement 
urgent, and that the remedy propose'd is the right one, I have 
no hesitation in voting for the Bill." 

Sir Ashley Eden, the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, in 
like manner bore testimony to the gravity of the evil complain- 
ed of. " The evil," he said, "has long been felt by the Gov- 
ernment of Bengal, and I believe by nearly all the other Local 
Governments. My predecessor. Sir G. Campbell, very strongly 
stated on several occasions his conviction that measures for 
controlling the vernacular Press were called for. What Gov- 
ernment does object to is the sedition and gross disloj^alty of 
some of the vernacular papers, and their attempts to sow the 
seeds of disaffection to the British rule in the minds of ignorant 
people. There have been laid before the Government extracts 
from the vernacular papers v>'hich establish the constant use 
■of language of this description, and show that they habitually 
attack and misrepresent the Government under which they live 
in peace and prosperity, in terms intended to weaken the author- 
ity of Government, and with a reckless disregard of truth and 
fact which would not have been tolerated in any country in 
the world." 

Sir John Strachey testified to the condition of two other 
provinces in similar terms. " Not long ago," he said, '' I was 
Lieutenant-Governor of one of the great Provinces of India, 
and some years previously the Government of another Province 
was entrusted to me. The questions which are dealt with in 
this Bill have consequently been frequently brought home to 
me in a very practical shape. I have had to look on power- 
less at the mischief that has been going on, and have deplored 
the neglect with which it has been treated by the Government. 
I have known that this neglect has not been caused by 



198 THE LAW OP SLCUIilON. 

indifference, but by the natural disinclination, which happily 
all Englishmen feel, to do anything which shall have even the 
appearance of interfering v/ith the liberty of the Press, and if 
I myself now thought that this Bill Avas really open to such a 
charge I should have been unable to give it my support, f 
deny that this measure will infringe that liberty. Liberty of 
the Press means liberty of discussion, liberty for the free ex- 
pression of thought and opinion. But liberty does not mean 
unbridled license. It does not mean unlimited permission to 
let loose on the land a never-ending stream of abuse of all the 
institutions by aid of which society is held together ; abuse of 
those things respect for which is indispensable for the preserv- 
ation of the lives and property of every one ; abuse of the Gov- 
ernment, of the administration of justice, of the whole English 
race, and of all it does or desires to do." 

"The honest journalist," he w^ent on to add, "has 
nothing to fear from the present measure. He will be as free 
as he has ever been to give expression to his opinions, to discuss 
the action of the Government and its officers, to advocate those 
measures and doctrines of which he approves, and to censure 
those that he condemns. The limitations under which he may 
do this will in no respect differ from those that apply in 
England." The Hon'ble Member then cited the observations 
of Lord Fitzgerald on public journalism in Sullivan's case 
(see Ch. ii), and added : — " These are the principles by which 
the British Government desires to be guided in this country 
also." 

His Excellency Lord Lytton, the President, summed \ip 
1he case with consummate skill and judgment. He said : — 
' ' I cannot but regret the necessity which, by some irony 
of fate, has imposed upon me the duty of undertaking legisla- 
tion for the purpose of putting restrictions on a portion of the 
Press in India. By association, by temperament, by convic- 
tion, I should naturally find my place on the side of those tO' 
whom the free utterance of thought and opinion is an inherited 
instinct and a national bii'thright. I should have rejoiced 
had it fallen to my lot to be able to enlarge, rather than res- 
trict, the liberty of the Press in India, for neither the existence, 
noi the freedom of the Press in this country is of native origin 



LATEK PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 199 

or growth. It is an exotic which especially claims and needs 
from the hands that planted it in a foreign soil and clime, 
protecting shelter and fostering care. It is one of the many pecu 
liarly British institutions which British rule has bestowed upon 
a population to whom it was previously unknown, in the belief 
that it will eventually prove beneficial to the people uf India, 
by gradually developing in thnr character those qualities which 
have rendered it beneficial to our own countrymen. For this 
reason the British rulers of India have always, and rightly, 
regarded with exceptional tolerance the occasional misuse 
of an instrument confided to unpractised hands. But all the 
more is it incumbent on the Government of India to take due 
care that the gift for which it is responsible shall not become 
a curse, instead of a blessing, a stone instead of bread, to its 
recipients. Under a deep sense of this great responsibility I 
say distinctly, and without hesitation, that, in my deliberate 
and sincere conviction, the present measure is imperatively 
called for by that supreme law — ^the safety of the State." 

" We have endeavoured," His Excellency continued, " to 
base our rule in India on justice, uprightness, progressive en- 
lightenment, and good government, as these are understood 
in England ; and it is at least a plausible postulate, which at 
first sight appears to be a sound one, that so long as these are 
the characteristics of our rule we need fear no disaffection on 
the part of the masses. It must, how^ever, be remembered that 
the problem undertaken by the British rulers of India is the 
application of the most refined principles of European govern- 
ment, and some of the most artificial institutions of European 
society to a vast oriental population, in whose history, habits, 
and traditions they have had no previous existence. Such 
phrases as ' Liberty of the Press' and others, which in England 
have long been the mere catchwords of ideas common to the 
whole race, and deeply impressed upon its character by all the 
events of its history and all the most cherished recollections of 
its earlier life, are here in India, to the vast mass of our native 
subjects, the mysterious formulas of a foreign, and more or less 
uncongenial system of administration, which is scarcely, if at 
all, intelligible to the greater number of those for whose benefit 
it is maintained. It is a fact which, when I first came to India, 



200 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

was strongly iznpressed on my attention by one of India's 
wisest and most thoughtful administrators, — it is a fact which 
there is no disguising, and it is also one which cannot be too 
constantly or too anxiously recognised, that, by enforcing 
these principles and establishing these institutions, we have 
placed and must permanently maintain ourselves at the head 
of a gradual but gigantic revolution ; the greatest and most 
momentous, social, moral and religious, as well as political 
revolution which perhaps the world has ever witnessed." 

" Now if the public interpreters and critics of our action 
were only European journalists capable of understanding and 
criticising it from a European point of view, in reference to the 
known principles of European policy, and in accordance with 
the commonly accepted rules of European reasoning, then I 
think we might rationally anticipate nothing but ultimate 
advantage to the country as well as to its Government, from 
the unrestricted expression of their opinion, however severely 
they might criticise, from time to time, this or that particular 
detail in the action of this or that particular administration. 
But this is not the case as regards those journals which are 
published in the vernacular languages. Written for the most 
part b}'' persons very imperfectly educated, and altogether 
inexperienced ; written, moreover, down to the level of the 
lowest intelligence, and with an undisguised appeal to the most 
disloyal sentiments and mischievous passions ; these journah. 
are read only or chiefly by persons still more ignorant, still 
more uneducated, still more inexperienced than the writerf^ 
of them ; persons wholly unable to judge for themselves, and 
entirely dependent for their interpretation of our action upon 
these self-constituted and incompetent teachers. Not content 
with misrepresenting the Government and maligning the 
character of the ruling race in every possible way and on every 
possible occasion, those mischievous scribblers have of late 
been preaching open sedition ; and, as shown by some of the 
passages which have to-da}'' been quoted from their publica- 
tions, they have begun to inculcate combination on the . part 
of the native subjects of the Empress of India for the avowed 
purpose of putting an end to the British Raj. This is no ex- 
aggeration. I have here under my hand a mass of such 



LATER PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 201 

poisonous matter, extracted from the various organs of the verna- 
■Gular Press." 

After citing a variety of examples His Excellency contin- 
ued : — " I think the Council must have been satisfied by the 
specimens which have now been submitted to its notice that 
the vernacular Press is at present adept in the treasonable art 
of instigating mischievous action, both by the expression of 
opinion and the statement of fact. I am confident that there 
is no Government in the world which would tolerate, no Gov- 
■ernment which could afford to tolerate, none which would bo 
justified in tolerating the unrestricted utterance of such language 
as is now addressed by the vernacular journals of this country 
to the ignorance, the prejudices and the passions of a subject 
race. I maintain that to prohibit the mischievous utterances 
of such journals as those from which I have quoted is no more 
an interference with the liberty of the Press, than to prohibit 
the promiscuous sale of deadly poisons is an interference with 
the freedom of trade." 

" If," he went on to add, " even in the most advanced 
self-governing societies, it be still the acknowledged duty of 
the State to provide by law for the repression of publications 
calculated or designed to pervert the mind and poison the sen- 
timents of those whose characters are yet unformed and whose 
judgment is still immature, then I assert with confidence that 
there is no Government in the world on which that duty is 
more incumbent than the Government of India, and that the 
measure which in our discharge of that duty we have laid before 
this Council is an eminently just as well as an urgently 
necessary measure. For I maintain without fear of contradic- 
"bion that the young people in England for whose mental and 
moral protection Lord Campbell's Act was passed are infinitely 
less ignorant, less easily influenced, infinitely better able to 
govern their own passions and guide their own conduct, 
than the helpless masses of our native population, on whose 
behalf you are now asked to pass this Bill. It may, and by 
oome persons it probably will be regarded as an objection to 
this measure that it draws a distinction, and apparently an 
invidious distinction, between the native and the English 
Press. The distinction is not between Englishmen and natives 



202 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

or between the English Press and the native Press. It is not 
against native papers as such that our legislation is directed. 
We confine our measures of restriction purely to the papers 
written in vernacular languages, and we do so because, a,s 
I have said before, they are addressed solely to an ignorant, 
excitable, helpless class — a class whose members have no other 
means of information, no other guide as to the action and 
motives of their rulers." 

In conclusion, His Excellency said : — ' ' We must, of course^ 
expect that by those people whose minds are governed by 
phrases, and who look upon the liberty of the Press as a fetish 
to be worshipped rather than as a privilege to be worthily 
earned and rationally enjoyed, this measure will be received 
with dislike, and the authors of it assailed with obloquy. 
It is my hope, however, that the gradual spread of edu- 
cation and enlightenment in India may insure and expedite 
the arrival of a time when the restrictions we are now imposing, 
can with safety be removed. I am unwilling to hamper the 
free influence of honest thovight, but I recognise in the present 
circumstances of this country and the present condition of the 
populations committed to our charge a clear and obvious duty 
to check the propagation of sedition and prevent ignorant, 
foolish, and irresponsible persons from recklessly destroying, 
the noble edifice which still generously shelters even its vilest 
detractors. That edifice has been slowly reared by the genius 
of British statesmanship out of the achievements of British 
valour. It was founded by English enterprise ; it has been 
cemented by English blood ; it is adorned with the brightest 
memorials of English character. The safe preservation of this 
great Imperial heirloom is the first and highest duty of those 
to whose charge it is entmsted — a duty owed to the memory 
of our fathers as well as to the interests of our children, to the 
honour of our Sovereign, no less than to the welfare of all her 
subjects in India." 

The Bill was passed, and became Act IX of 1878. This 
Act, which is now chiefly of historical interest, may be des- 
cribed as a measure designed for the prevention of sedition 
and extortion by the publishers of periodical literature in the 
vernacular languages, by means of a system of personal security. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

LATER PREVENTIVE MEASURES — COntd. 

The Vernacular Prv ss Act of 1878 was passed on the 14tb 
of March, and on the 5th September following a Bill was intro- 
duced to amend it. This, as was explained by the Mover, was 
in consequence of the doubts expressed by the Secretary of 
State as to the efficacy of one of its provisions. 

On the 16tli October the opportunity was taken by Sir A. 
Arbuthnot of stating to the Council how the Act had operated 
during the short period that had elapsed since its enactment. 
He said : — " When I obtained leave to introduce this Bill I ex- 
plained the circumstances under which the Bill had been framed 
and the particular point on which the Secretary of State had 
desired that the Act passed in March last should be amended, 
and I said that I would take the opportunity to offer a few 
remarks with reference to the working of the Act which it is 
now proposed to amend, and also with reference to the discus- 
sions which have taken place regarding that measure since it was 
passed. Seven months have now elapsed since the Vernacular 
Press Act became law, and there has been no necessity for 
bringing the Act into operation in anj^ single instance. The 
Act in this respect has so far justified — and indeed has more 
than justified — ^the hope wmch I ventured to express when it 
Avas passed, that the mere existence of this law would, in a 
great measure, suffice to repress the mischief against which it is 
aimed, and that the actual enforcement of its provisions would 
be a thing of very rare occurrence. As a matter of fact seditioiis 
and disloyal writing — writing calculated to inflame the minds 
of the masses and to bring the Government into contempt — 
has been entirely stopped." 

" At the same time," he added, " there has been uo inter- 
ference with the legitimate expression of opinion. The liberty 
of the Press has not been in any way restricted. It is con- 
stantly alleged that the \ernacular Press has been gagged, that 
the native Press has been silenced. I am bound to say that in 



204 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

the case of persons at a distance — in tlie case of English states- 
men who have no opportunity of knowing what is actually 
going on, on the spot — such impressions are by no mi^ans un- 
reasonable. But to those who are acquainted with the actual 
state of things — to those who have the opportunity of seeing 
the vernacular papers, or the extracts from them which are 
periodically printed — it must by this time be apparent that 
the result which might have been apprehended has not occur- 
red. I need only allude to the comments which have been 
constantly made in the vernacular newspapers on the Press 
Act, on the License-tax, and on the Arms Act, to show that on 
all these matters there is still the freest and the most unreserved 
criticism and comment. This, so far as we can form a judgment 
from the history of the past sev^en mouths, has been the result ; 
and I cannot but think that it is a result which must be regard- 
ed as very satisfactory. The Act, which in many quarters has 
been so vigorously condemned, has entirely succeeded in its 
object of checking seditious writing, and has in no way res- 
tricted or diminished the legitimate freedom of the Press." 

" The Secretary of )State," he went on to add, " empha 
tically approved of it. In the sixth paragraph of the despatch. 
Lord Cranbrook writes that he is bound to say that ' a strong 
case appears to be established for the further control of the 
class of newspapers at which the Act is aimed,' and after 
noticing the arguments which were adduced by some of the 
speakers in this Council, His Lordship proceeds to add an 
argument of his own, which is to the effect that, ' remembering 
how few opportunities the experience of these writers has 
afiorded them of understanding the limits of justifiable criti- 
cism, he is inclined to think that a system of pecuniary penal- 
ties leviable under bonds, would be more applicable to tb>Mr 
case than criminal prosecutions for an offence which may con- 
ceivably entail a punishment so heavy as transportation for 
life.' It would be idle to deny that the Vernacular Press Act 
has been received with disapproval by many persons whose 
opinions are entitled to the respectful consideration of this 
Council. Such a result was only to be expected. The measure 
is one which was not resolved on by the Government without 
great reluctance and regret, and it was not probable that a 



LATER PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 205 

measure of this nature would be received with acclamation. 
Notwithstanding these expressions of disapproval it is not pro- 
posed to repeal the Act. The Grovernment of India have not 
in any way receded from the opinion that the Act was a poli- 
tical necessity." 

In conclusion he said: — "The Government consider the 
working of the Act during the few months that it has been on 
the Statute-book to have been even more satisfactory than the 
most sanguine expectations could have foreseen. So far it has 
effectually repressed the evil against which it was aimed, while 
it has in no vray interfered with or restricted the legitimate 
freedom of the Press." 

His Excellency Lord Lytton, the President, addressed the 
Council as follows : — " If I do not give a silent vote on this 
occasion, it is only because I am anxious that my silence shall 
not be misinterpreted. Although the thoughtful . speech of 
my hon'ble colleague naturally and properly turned chiefly 
ux)on the Vernacular Press Act, yet the Council is aware that 
neither the Vernacular Press Act, nor the principle, nor the 
expediency of that Act are here under discussion. My hon'ble 
ccUeague has reminded us that the Vernacular Press Act has 
now for some time been in force, with the approval of the 
Secretary of State and the ratification of the British Parliament, 
and no action can be taken in any part of India without the 
carefully considered sanction of the Supreme Government. Up 
to the present time no action has been necessary under the 
Act, and I trust that no such action Mall be necessary. But 
I do not hesitate to say that the existence of the law has been 
eminently beneficial in its effects, and productive of a marked 
improvement in the general tone and character of Vernacular 
iournalism. Many evidences of this might, doubtless, be added 
to those which have been cited by my hon'ble colleague ; but 
I think the Council will have been satisfied by the statement 
we have just heard from him that the efiecfs of the Vernacular 
Press Law are vigilantly watched and considered by the 
Department over which he presides ; and that this law, whilst 
effectually restraining seditious and profligate publications, 
has in no wise hindered the freest and fullest expression 
of antagonistic opinion on the policy and conduct of the 



206 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Executive or the Legislature in the fair field of public 
criticism." 

" The Couucil is aware," His Excellency continued, 
" that the object of the present Press Law is preventive, not 
punitive ; and speaking for myself I can truly affirm that my 
own object, both in connection with that 'aw and generally 
as regards all the relations between the Government and the 
Press, has been, not to check, but to promote the growth, not 
to injure, but to improve the position, of the Vernacular Press. 
I say no more. The Vernacular Press has received from the 
Government which passed the existing Press Law not merely 
toleration, but sympathy, not merely good wishes, but good 
ofliees. I have always felt that our duty toward that portion 
of the Press was of a two-fold character. We were bound, 
indeed, to protect the community from the abuse of freedom 
on the part of certain Vernacular journals ; but we were 
also bound in the interests of the community, as well as of the 
Press itself, simultaneously to do all in our power to encourage 
and assist the Vernacular Press in the cultivation of that freedom 
which the present law denies to no honest journalist. " 

" Now I think there is no use," he added, " in ignoring 
the plain fact that the existence of a free Press in a country 
whose Government is not based on free institutions, or carried 
on upon representative principles, is a great political anomaly, 
and that the relations between such a Government and such a 
Press must necessarily be somewhat peculiar. A Press exists 
for the circulation of facts, as well as of opinions about them. 
If the facts are untrue, the opinions mast be unsound. Adequate 
political information is as necessary for the sustenance of 
a healthy Press as adequate food for that of a healthy human 
being. But in this country the only source of authentic political 
information is the Government itself, whose political acts are 
the legitimate subject of that public criticism which it is the 
function of the Press to supply. If you put aside the Govern- 
ment ; beyond, and apart, and independently of the Govern- 
ment, where is such information to be found ? In the 
rumours of the streets, in the gossip of the bazars and the 
mess-rooms, in the interior consciousness of amateur political 



LATER PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 207 

prophets, or the occasional indiscretion of some official clerk. 
And therefore I think that in presence of a Press which is, so 
to speak, constrained to forage for its sustenance on such a 
barren moor, it is the duty of the Government, so far as it is 
possible to do so, to keep the Press fully and impartially 
furnished with accurate current information in reference to 
such measures, or intentions on the part of Government, as 
are susceptible of immediate publication, without injury to 
the interests for which the Government is responsible." 

In conclusion he said: — " The object of the present Bill 
is to remove from the Vernacular Press Act a clause which was 
inserted into that Act, not without certain hesitation at th^ 
time, purely as a mitigating, not as an intensifying clause. 
The Secretary of State, whilst sanctioning the whole Bill inclu- 
sive of this clause, expressed an opinion that the option thus 
given to impecunious editors to place their journals under 
temporary supervision as an alternative to penalties which 
might otherwise in such cases put an end altogether to the 
precarious existence of the offending journal, was a provision 
liable to misuse, and which might in practice introduce a prin- 
ciple nowhere else recognised in the Act, and indeed generally 
inconsistent wdth the spirit of it. The Secretary of State, 
therefore, requested the Government of India not to act 
upon this clause. This amending Act, however, leaves of 
com^se wholly unaltered the character and principle of the 
original Act." 

The Bill was then passed as Act XVI of 1878. Act IX 
of 1878, thus amended, had been in force for a little over 
three years when, on the 7th December, 1881, a Bill was 
introduced to repeal it. The reasons for this measure were 
briefly stated by the Mover of the Bill to be that ; "in the 
opinion of the present Government," circumstances no longer 
justified the existence of the Act. 

On a subsequent occasion, the 19th of January 1882, the 
reasons were more fully explained by the Hon'ble Member 
in charge, and by Sir W. Hunter who warmly supported the 
repeal. In referring to the circumstances which led to the 
passing of Act IX of 1878, Sir W. Hunter said:—" In that 



208 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

year the Government of India deemed it needful in the public 
inttrest, to obtain from the Legislature special powers for 
repressing seditious and threatening writings in the Vernacular 
Press. He confessed that after perusing the published evi- 
dence, he was one of those who deplored that such powers 
should have been deemed necessary. But for this very reason 
be thought that he, and others who like himself regretted that 
repressive powers were then found needful, should now 
acknowledge the forbearance with which those powers had been 
used. There were no returns before the Council to show how 
far the Vernacular Press Act of 1878 had been resorted to in the 
several Presidencies and Provinces. But aftef inquiry in the 
proper quarter he believed he was correct in saying that in only 
one instance had the repressive clauses of that Act been made 
use of against any newspaper. Now the Council must remem- 
ber that not fewer than 230 journals were regularly published 
in the native languages, and that any one of these newspapers 
might, by the exercise of the powers granted to the Executive 
in 1878, have been brought under the operation of the Act. 
The fact that in only one case had even a warning been 
issued to a native newspaper under the Act sufficed to show 
the extreme reluctance with which the Executive had availed 
itself of the powers vested in it during the past four years." 

" As regards seditious or threatening writings in the Ver- 
nacular Press published within India," he continued, "the 
iepealing Bill pursued a different course. It made no special 
provision for such writings, and so left them to be dealt with 
by the ordinary law. He did not think it could be alleged that 
the Bill made undue concessions, or that it tampered with the 
legal safeguards for private repiitations or for the public safety. 
At the same time he believed that it would substantially im- 
prove the position of the Vernacular Press. It practically 
intimated that the profession of the native journalist was no 
longer regarded with suspicion by the Government. It set 
free his implements of trade from the menace of confiscation 
under a special law. It told him that he was henceforth trusted 
to carry on his industry, subject only to the same judicial pro- 
cedure and to the same laws as those under which his iellow- 
citizens followed their respective callings." 



LATER PKEVENTIVE MEASURES. 209 

"There was, however," he added, "another aspect of 
the case. For the wider liberty now secured to the native 
journalist carried with it a heavier responsibility to use that 
liberty aright. He believed that the great proportion of native 
journalists throughout India would prove themselves worthy 
of unrestricted freedom. But he was compelled to add that 
certain members of their profession had still much to learn in 
regard to what was due, alike to the just susceptibilities of 
those on whom they commented, and to the dignity of their own 
calling. He would be a false friend to the native Press if he 
pretended that it had yet attained to that sobriety of judgment 
and temperance *in tone, or to those high standards of public 
responsibility which its well-wishers hoped to see it reach." 

"The native Press," he said in conclusion, "had an 
opportunity now which it never had before. For after all it 
was the chief organ of representation in India, and never before 
was so serious a desire evinced by the C4overnment to give 
representative institutions a fair trial. The Indian Press was 
a Parliament always in session, and to Avhich every native was 
eligible who had anything to say that was worthy of being 
heard. The Vernacular journalists should realise two things. 
If they now used their liberty aright they would strengthen 
the hands of those who wished to foster the popular element 
in the administration. But if they abused their liberty, they 
would furnish a most powerful argument for postponing the 
further development of representative institutions in India." 

The Bill was received with u nanimous assent. One incident 
alone occurred which could have impaired the generous optimism 
of the Hon'ble Member. The ' amari aliquid ' was contained in 
the concluding remark of the Mover of the Bill that " should the 
Governmeat hereafter find it necessary to take stronger measures 
than were contained in the provisions of the Penal Code, he 
might safely say that this Government, and he hoped any 
future Government, would follow the example of Lord Canning 
on an emergency, and take effective measures to put a stop to 
any writings which were likely to endanger the public safety." 

His Excellency Lord Ripon, the President of the Council, 
m bringing the proceeding to a close made no allusion of any 

D. LS 14 



210 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

sort to the circumstances -wliicli. led to tlie passing of the Act 
of 1878, or to the reasons which induced its repeal. He merely- 
said that " he did not wish to detain tht; Council by any obser- 
vations of his own, nor did he think that he was- in any way 
called upon to review the reasons or motives for which the Act 
was originally introduced. All he desired to say was that it 
would always be a great satisfaction to him that it should have 
been during the time that he held the office of Viceroy that the 
Act had been removed from the Indian Statute-book." 

The Bill was then passed, and the Vernacular Press Act 
ceased to exist. 

How far the sanguine prognostications of Sir W. Hunter 
were realised may be ascertained from the speeches delivered 
in Council by the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, Sir A. Mac 
kenzie, and by Sir G. Evans in 1898, at the time when the law 
of sedition was amended. These have been fully discussed in 
a previous chapter which deal-5 with the subject (see Ch. vii), 
and it is unnecessary to cite them again. The gist of their 
views, however, is summed up in two short and significant 
passages. The Lieutenant-Governor in the course of his speech 
on that occasion said: — "The necessity for the proposed 
legislation is unquestionable. Ever since the repeal of the 
Vernacular Press Act, the native Press has been year by year 
growing more reckless in its mode of writing about the Gov- 
ernment, Government officers, and Government measures." 
The unofficial Member, who had had the unique experience of 
witnessing the passing of both enactments and of giving his 
assent to both measures, said, in the course of a long and ela- 
borate argument : — ' ' The Vernacular Press Act was intro- 
duced to check license while leaving liberty. It worked well 
and without hardship, but was repealed in 1882. Since then 
the mischief has spread rapidly." 

However this may be, there is no disguising the fact that in 
1898 the Government of India were confronted with precisely 
the same situation as they had been in 1878. The necessity 
for legislation, with its two alternative courses, again presented 
itself. The one was to enact a Press Act ; the other to amend 
the law of sedition. In 1878 the Legislature selected the former 
course, while in 1898 they preferred to adopt the latter. 



LATER PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 211 

The gravity of the position was franlch^ admitted by the 
Law Member when introducing his Bill to amend the Penal 
Code. " Recent events in India," he said, "have called pro- 
minent attention to the law relating to seditious utterances 
and writings. We have had anxiously to consider the state 
of the law regarding these matters, and to decide whether, and 
in what lespects, it required amendment. Two different lines 
of action were open to us. The first was to re-enact a Press 
Law similar to the Vernacular Press Act of 1878. • The second 
was to amend the general law relating to sedition and cognate 
offences, so as to make it efficient for its purpose. We have 
come to the conclusion that the second course is the right one 
for us to take." 

The circumstances attending the passing of Act IV of 
1898 have already been fully discussed in dealing with penal 
measures (see Ch. vii). There was, however, another measure, 
•enacted simultaneously by Act V of 1898, of a preventive 
character, which it is necessary to mention here. This was 
section 108 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act \ of 1898). 
The new provision inserted in the Code was designed to 
prevent the dissemination of seditious matter, either orally or 
in v/riting, b)^ means of a system of personal security. 

In explaining the purport and object of the section the 
Law Member said: — " Section 109 of that Code provides that 
in certain cases people who misbehave themselves may be 
bound over and required to find sureties to be of good be- 
haviour for a term not exceeding twelve months. We propose 
to apply a similar procedure to the case of people who either 
orally or in writing disseminate or attempt to disseminate 
obscene, seditious, or defamatory matter. A. man who dis- 
seminates, that is to say, who sows broadcast or scatters abroad 
such matter, is obviously a dangerous public nuisance. It is 
immaterial whether he chooses as his means of dissemination 
an oral address, or a book, or a pamphlet, or a newspaper. 
We are bound to check such obnoxious conduct. But as a 
xule, the persons who are guilty of it are small and insignifi- 
cant individuals. They may do enormous mischief among 
un<:*ducated, foolish, and ignorant people, but in themselves they 
^re deserving of very little notice. It is absurd to deal with 



212 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

them by an elaborate State prosecution. We think that in 
most cascs no prosecution at all will be required. It will be 
sufficient to give them an eflfecfciv^e warning to discontinue 
their evil practices, and we think that the machinery we have 
devised will operate as an effective warning. The general 
power of revision possessed by the High Courts will secure 
that that machinery will not be used in any way oppressively ; 
and we further propose that this new power should only be 
exercised by Presidency or District Magistrates, or specially 
empowered Magistrates of the first class." 

The section underwent some modifications at the hands 
of the Select Committee. These are set out in their Report 
of the 16th February 1898. " We have provided," they said, 
" that the bond may be with or without sureties. We have 
cut out the reference to ' obscene matter,' as we think that it 
is sufficiently provided for by the ordinary law. We have ex- 
plained the reference to ' seditious matter " by reference to 
the provisions of the proposed new section 124A of the Indian 
Penal Code, and we have included matter punishable under 
the proposed new section 153A of that Code. We have cut out 
the reference to ' defamatory matter ' as that term is much too 
wide, and after consideration we have substituted the words 
' any matter concerning a Judge which amounts to criminal 
intimidation or defamation under the Indian Penal Code.' ' ' 

When the Bill came before the Council on a subsequent 
date (Uth March), a further amendment was introduced at 
the instance of Sir Griffith Evans. The last clause to the 
section was added, requiring the sanction of Government for 
proceedings in certain cases (see Appx.). 

He explained its purport as follows : — ' ' The effect rough- 
ly speaking is to require the same sanction of Government 
when proceedings are instituted under section 108 against the 
Press as is required in all cases of a prosecution under section 
124A. The result will be that Magistrates will be able to take 
proceedings without Government sanction in all other cases. 
It may be asked why this distinction should be made between 
oral and written sedition. One reason is that oral incitements 
to a mob of ignorant people are apt to lead to immediate dis- 
turbances, and may require immediate action without wjiiting 



LATER PREVENTIVES MEASURES. 213 

for sanction. Anuther is that many seditious preachers are 
migratory, and must be caught at once if they are tQ be stopped, 
wh areas newspaper editors and publishers have a fixed address 
and a fixed occupation, and can be found at any time. Biit the 
main leason is a dilTerent one. A portion of the Vernacular Press 
has been allowed to drift into a very lamentable condition for 
many years, and the curb which it is proposed to put upon 
them by this section will have to be applied with great discre- 
tion and judgment. It is, I think, essential that this power 
should be exercised by persons of the ripest judgment, living in 
a serener atmosphere, away from local feeling and excitement. 
In fact, I do not think that any one but the Government ought 
to use this power, ^\ith any prospect of the good results which 
are intended." 

" As however," he added, "the statement has been re- 
iterated to-day that there is no sedition, or no ' appreciable 
sedition,' in India, I desire to make it clear that it is from no 
sympathy with the view that I move this amendment. T will 
not waste time in the barren discussion of whether sedition is 
the right word to describe what does exist. But I have since 
the last meeting of the Council waded through a large mass of 
authorised translations of extracts from the Vernacular Press 
for the year 1897, and this is what I find." The Hon'ble 
Member then cited a copious selection of examples by way of 
illustration, and continued : — " This is the kind of thing which 
every body can read for himself and call by any name he pleases 
■except honest criticism. This is the kind of thing they have 
been teaching the people while the famine officials have been 
spending their lives and health in endeavouring to cope with 
it, while the plague officials have been braving the plague, 
and making unparallelled exertions in order to save the lives 
of the people. The evil is great and is so deep-rooted that it 
will require wisdom as well as firmness to deal with it. Any 
indiscreet action would recoil on the Government. When 
it is found that the manufacture and sale of this kind of 
poison is prohibited, and no longer yields a safe livelihood, I 
hope the tone of malignant perversity may be abandoned, and 
something more like honest criticism may take its place. But 
it will take time." 



214.' •:' THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

It will be observed that the f undameutai principle of this- 
provision, like the Press Act of 1878, is personal security. 
This point of similarity between the two measures was not lost 
sight of by the opponents of the Bill. It was suggested, . 
in fact, that the Law Member, while disavowing all inten- 
tions of resorting to Press legislation, was virtually reviving. 
in the proposed clause the obnoxious Press Act of 1878. In 
answer to this two essential differences in the new section 
were pointed out. One was that it was " not aimed speci- 
fically at writers or editors," but at seditious people generally. 
The other was that it only applied to those who had actually 
offended against the law, in Avhich respect it dift'ered '' wholly 
and absolutely from the old Press law." 

Two cases under section • 108 of the Criminal Procedure 
Code are reported to have come before the High Courts, the 
one in Calcutta, and the other in Bombay. 

In the former case, Beni Bhushan Ro>/ v. Emperor (.34 CaL 
991), the petitioner was a local pleader, practising at Khulna. 
On the 15th July 1907 he had been directed by the District 
Magistrate, under section 108, to execute a bond for Rs. 5,000, 
with two sureties, to be of good behaviour for one year. The 
proceeding was in respect of a speech Avhich he delivered at a 
public meeting in the town of Khulna. The language used by 
him on that occasion is indicated in the notice served on him 
in terms of the section. In it he ' ' referred to the present year 
as being very auspicious for the inauguration of the meeting,, 
as it was the fiftieth anniversary of the Indian Mutiny, when 
there was an attempt of the natives of India to regain their 
country, which was almost successful, and incited the members 
of the meeting to exert themselves to secure an independent 
Government." This was proved by a Police officer who had 
attended the meeting and taken notes of the speech. 

The learned Judges held that there was "nothing in the 
charges, as stated in the notice, which would bring the case 
within section 108," and accordingly set aside "the order of 
the Magistrate. 

The reasons stated were as follows : — ' ' The exact words 
used by the petitioner cannot be ascertained, but the District 
Magistrate of Khulna has found that the words used are sub- 



LATEPv PREVENTIVE MEASURES. 215 

stantially the same as given in the notice. Looking, however, 
to the substance only, and not to the exact words, there is 
nothing which would bring the case within section 124A of the 
Indian Penal Code, and therefore section 108 of the Criminal 
Procedure Code." " The word which it is said was actually 
used is ' Swaraj.'' The words ' independent government ' were 
not used." " The word ' Sivaraj,'' if it was used, does not 
necessarily mean government of the country to the exclusion 
of the present Government but its ordinary acceptance is 
' home rule ' under the Government. The vernacular word 
used, if literally translated, would mean self-govermnent, but 
self-government would not necessarily mean the exclusion of 
the present Government or independence." 

.Justice Mitra's interpretation of the term ' Stvaraj ' must 
be compared with the more recent renderings of the same 
word by Sir A. White and Justice Miller (32 Mad., 3), and by 
Justice Chandavarkar (34 Bom., 394). These have been already 
discussed in a previous chapter (see Ch. xii). 

In the latter case, Emperor v. Vaman (11 Bom. L. R., 743), 
the petitioner Avas a pleader of the District Court at Nasik. 
He moved the High Court to set aside an order of the District 
Magistrate of Nasik, made under section 108, directing him to 
execute a personal recognisance for Rs. 2,000, with two sureties 
of Rs. 1,000 each, to be of good behaviour for one year. The 
speeches in respect of which the proceeding was taken, had 
been delivered at public meetings on six different occasions, 
between the 5th February 1907 and the 5th September 1908. 
The information by the Police was filed before the District 
Magistrate on the 10th December following. The evidence of 
the speeches, as in the former case, was furnished by Police 
witnesses. The matter came on for hearing before Justice 
Chandavarkar, A. C. J., and Justice Heaton, on the 9th July 
1909. 

In commenting on the scope of this provision, the 
learned Judges said : — ' ' The provisions of Chapter VIII of the 
Code are no doubt preventive in their scope and object, and 
are obviously aimed at persons who are a danger to the public 
by reason of the commission by them of certain ofEences. The 
test under section 108 is whether the person proceeded against 



216 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

has been disseminating seditious matter, and whether there is 
any fear of a repetition of the offence. In each case that is 
a question of fact, which must be determined with reference to 
the antecedents of the person, and other surrounding circum- 
stances." 

As to the method of proving the speeches, their lordships 
said: — "It is complained that the sole evidence against the 
petitioner is tbat of Police reports, and these were not admis- 
sible. This objection was bub faintly pressed, and is clearly 
untenable. The Police officers who wrote those reports have 
been examined as witnesses for the Crown. The reports, to 
the correctness of which they have sworn, were written soon 
after they had heard the speeches, with the help of notes taken 
down at the meetings where .those speeches had been delivered. 
The reports were admissible for the purpose of refreshing the 
memory of the witnesses w^ho had made them, and they have 
been admitted and used for that purpose only. But it was 
said that these reports should not be relied on because they 
are not verbatim, and the whole speeches are not before the 
Court. The witnesses, however, have given on oath the words 
or expressions charged as seditious, and the context in which 
they were uttered." 

In conclusion their lordships said: — "If the words re- 
ported were uttered, it is impossible to make out in what 
innocent context they could have been used ; and the peti- 
tioner has not ventured to say they were not uttered. His 
denial before the Magistrate has been that the reports are not 
full, and are inaccurate — a vague plea. We agree with the 
District Magistrate in the conclusions at which he has arrived, 
and uphold his order as one fully justified by the facts of the 
case. The rule is discharged." 



CHAPTER XIX. 

KECENT PREVENTIVE LEGISLATION. 

It has been seen that the year 1898 was memorable for the 
introduction of two legislative measures directed against sedi- 
tion, the one of a penal, and the other of a preventive character. 
Act IV of 1898 was passed to amend the general law of sedition 
and cognate offences, while Act V introduced concurrently a 
special procedure founded on the principle of personal security. 
These remedies would seem to have been unavailing, for in 1907 
the Government were compelled to resort to fresh legislation. 

The next measure was directed against seditious oratory. 
On the 18th October, 1907, a Bill was introduced by Sir Harvey 
Adamson " to make better provision for the prevention of 
meetings likely to promote sedition, or to cause a disturbance 
of public tranquillity." 

In explaining the measure he said : — ' ' This Bill is founded 
on, and is a sequel to, the ' Regulation of Meetings Ordinance, 
1907.' The Ordinance was enacted in May last on account of 
the acute disorder that prevailed in the Punjab and in Eastern 
Bengal. The limit of the life of an Ordinance is six months, 
and it will in natural course expire on the 10th November. 
We had hoped that the need for an enactment of this kind 
would cease before the Ordinance expired, but in this hope we 
have been disappointed. It has become painfully apparent 
that persistent attempts continue to be made to promote sedi- 
tion, and to cause such ill-feeling as is calculated to disturb the 
public tranquillity, and that these attempts are not confined to 
the two provinces which came under the scope of the Ordinance. 
The Bill which I have introduced extends to the whole of British 
India, but its operation is restricted to such provinces as the 
Governor-General in Council may from time to time notify, and 
•even within these provinces the operation is restricted to such 
areas as the Local Government may declare to be proclaimed 
areas. It is not necessary for me to reiterate the provisions of 
the Ordinance, which has already been before the public for 



218 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

some months. Suffice it to say that the Ordinance gave power 
to prohibit only such meetings as, on a scrutiny of the circum- 
stances, a responsible officer believed to be likely to promote 
sedition or disaffection, or to cause a disturbance of the public 
tranquillity. And a chief object of the Ordinance was not to 
prohibit public meetings, but to insure that our officers should 
have admission to all public meetings, so that evidence might be 
available if the proceedings were unlawful. These also are the- 
principles of the Bill." 

"The Government of India," the Hon'ble Member added, 
"have all along recognised that unrest is not solely the outcome 
of seditious agitation, but has its basis on the natural aspirations 
of educated Indians. To meet these aspirations and to associate 
Indians more closely in the administration of the country we 
formulated a large and generous scheme of reform which is now 
before the public for criticism. With this earnest of our desire 
to meet grievances we had hoped that the necessity for repres- 
sion would cease. But as time rolled on it became more and 
more apparent that such hopes were doomed to disappoint- 
ment, that we had to deal with a section of irreconcilables, and 
that it would be necessary to continue the principles of the 
Ordinance as substantive law. The recognition of a necessity 
for legislation involved also a recognition of the necessity that 
there should be no hiatus, and that the substantive law should be- 
ready to come into operation when the Ordinance expired." 

When the Bill was before the Council on the 1st November, 
for final consideration, the Hon'ble Member, in answer to the 
objection raised by the opponents of the measure that it was 
wholly unnecessary, said: — "As regards the necessity, I almost 
feel that I should apologise for wasting the time of the Council, 
for the course of events during the past few months has surely 
been sufficient, without words of mine, to prove to reasonable 
men that a preventive measure is necessary. The party of ex- 
treme agitation, at least so far as they consist of men of matured 
understanding, may be comparatively few, but they exercise a 
baneful influence. They are teaching the schoolboys and stu- 
dents of the country that the Government as established in India, 
is a government of despots, whose only desire is to enrich them- 
selves and to impoverish and depopulate the country. They are 



RECE^•T PREVENTIVE LEGISLATION. 219 

teaching the younger generation, who in a few years will, in the 
natural course of affairs, take a large share in the administration 
of India, that that administration is one of chicanery and deceit. 
It is no light thing that by the action and avowed policy of 
this disloyal party, the masses of the common people, who are 
contented and law-abiding when left to their own devices, but 
whose natures contain elements that are easily stirred to violence, 
have been excited by plausible lies to plunge the country into 
disorder. Nor is it a light thing that determined attempts 
have been made to seduce the police and even the native army 
from its allegiance. The whole aim of the seditious party is to 
subvert the government of the country. But I will not content 
myself with general statements. I will take up the challenge, 
and will show that in every part of India where seditious oratory 
has been poured on the people during the past eight months, 
the immediate result has been grave lawlessness and disorder. " 

The Hon'ble Member then referred to a large number of 
instances of serious disturbances in various parts of India. " In 
Calcutta," he said, " there had been meetings almost daily since 
the beginning of August, and a stream of seditious oratory was 
poured forth on the town. The police were urged to forsake 
their duty, the people vv'ere incited to attack the police, especially 
the European police, and students were advised to arm them- 
selves with lathis — advice which they accepted. The result 
was that disturbances took place on August 7th and 26th, 
September 9th, and October 2nd to 5th, which became so serious 
that the authorities were compelled to take extraordinary action 
under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in restraint 
of public meetings." 

"Ill Western countiies," he continued, "public sentiment 
is against the breakers of the law. If in a European country 
treason were preached at a public meeting many of those present 
would, from patriotic motives, come forward and denounce, and 
testify against the traitors. But what happens in India ? It 
may be a moral certainty that sedition was preached, but no 
witnesses of respectability are to be found. That is the reason 
why in India we cannot rely on prosecutions, and are obliged 
to resort to preventive measures which entail inconvenience. 
The truth is that India under British government has enjoyed a 



220 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

liberty — whether ia the press or on the platform — that has beeu 
given to no other country in the world except England. That 
liberty has degenerated into a license which Avould not for a 
moment be tolerated in any country in the world — even in 
England. This abuse of freedom not only retards progress, but 
it threatens to engulph India in anarchy and riotousness, and 
no government on earth — unless it abnegated its functions — 
could dare to leave such an evil unchecked." 

So much for the necessity for jjreventive measures. The 
Hon'ble Member next dealt with the various clauses of the 
Bill in detail, pointing out the numerous safeguards against 
abuse of its provisions, and observed: — "Any contention, 
therefore that the Bill allows an}' dubious or questionable inter- 
ference by the police falls completely to the ground. The 
effect of the operative clauses of the Bill may be summed up 
in three sentences, — (1) they require notice to be given of the 
intention to hold public meetings for the discussion of political 
topics in order that accurate reports of the proceedings may be 
obtained ; (2) they enable officers onlj^ of the highest standing 
to prohibit seditious public meetings ; (3) they completely ex- 
clude dubious action on the part of the police." 

"The Hon'ble Members who oppose the Bill,"' he said in 
conclusion, "do not deny that there has been a considerable 
amount of seditious platform oratory. They cannot but admit 
that inflammatory oratorj^ working on the minds of an ignorant 
and excitable people must be a grave source of danger. Their 
criticism is rather destructive than constructive, but I gather 
that rather than risk any interference with liberty they would 
let matters drift, and let sedition run its course, in the hope 
that things will eventually right themselves. I may point out 
that this was the policy followed for many years in respect of 
the native Press. In Bengal for over thirty years sedition in 
the Press was neither punished nor prevented. During the 
whole of this time the dissemination of sedition in the Press 
never ceased. Did the forbearance of Government lead to any 
good result ? On the contrary the native Press went from 
bad to worse, until now, when the evil that it does can be 
ignored no longer, it seems that it is almost impossible by the 
strictest enforcement of the criminal law to stem a tide of sedi- 



RECENT PREVENTIVE LEGISLATION. 221 

tion, which by inaction has been allowed to increase to enormous 
proportions. Can it be doubted that the same result will follow 
in the case of seditious platform oratory, if we do not take 
timely measures to check it ? " 

Sir Edward Baker, in supporting the Bill, said : — "We have 
been told to-day with characteristic force and eloquence that 
there is little or no sedition in India, and that those persons 
whose acts have led to the present legislation are a class in- 
significant both in numbers and influence. A similar argument 
has I think been used in a part of the Press, but, so far as 
I have observed, it only acquired prominence after it became 
known that legislation was in contemplation. It is a matter 
of common knowledge that there is a section of the Press, 
published largely but not exclusively in Bengal, which has 
openly endeavoured to excite hatred of the Government, and 
advocated itssubversion,— which has sought to make the admin- 
istration impossible, and has denounced all Indian servants 
of the State as traitors to their country. During the last two or 
three years, perhaps even during the last few months, these or- 
gans have increased in nuiubers, in circulation, and in the viru- 
lence and audacity of their attacks on the established order. 
If those by whom these journals are supported are really so insig- 
nificant and negligible as is represented, how is it that the latter 
are able to appeal to so large and expanding a circle of readers ? 
Sedition in the Press can bs reached by the ordinary law of 
the land. But that is only one weapon in the armoury of dis-. 
order. Not less dangerous, but more difficult to touch, is the 
seditious harangue, delivered often by men who are skilled ia 
the arts of the demagogue, not for the legitimate ventilation of 
any real or fancied grievance, but to work upon the immature, 
ill-informed minds of their hearers, to instil into them feelings 
of hatred and hostility towards the State, and to incite them 
to the open use of force and violence for its disruption. Are 
we to believe that these addresses always fall on deaf, un- 
willing ears ? I wish that I could think so. But I fear that a. 
sufficient answer is to be found in the rioting and disorder which 
have only too often followed in their train, in the grotesque 
yet mischievous organisations known as the national volunteers, 
in the forcible interference with the freedom of purchase and sale- 



-222 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

of foreign goods, and in the constant resort to social ostracism 
of those who adhere to a different way of thinking." 

His Excellency Lord Minto, the President, in closing the 
proceeding said: — "I am afraid my Hon'ble colleagues have 
allowed their enthusiasm for the cause of political reform to 
blind them to the necessities of the moment, and that they have 
failed to recognise that the first duty of any government is the 
maintenance of law and order, and the protection of the people, 
entrusted to its charge. They would have us l)elieve that we 
have been frightened by a phantom, that we have accepted the 
vapounngs of a few agitators as evidence of dangerous sedition, 
and that by the Act which w-e have passed we are imputing 
disloyalty to the masses of the people of India— that I empha- 
tically deny — but at the same time I refuse altogether to minimise 
the meaning of the warnings and anxieties of the last few months. 
We cannot afford to forget the events of the early spring — ^the 
riots at Lahore and gratuitous insults to Europeans, the Pindi 
riots, the promulgation of the Ordinance, and, contempora- 
neously with all this, a daily story from Eastern Bengal of 
assault, of looting, of boycotting, and general lawlessness en- 
couraged by agitators, who, with an utter disregard of conse- 
quences, no matter how terrible, have by public addresses, by 
seditious newspapers, by seditious leaflets, and itinerant secret 
agents, lost no opportunity of inflaming the w^orst passions of 
racial feeling, and have not hesitated to attempt to tamper 
with the loyalty of our magnificent Indian army. The seeds 
of sedition have been unscrupulously scattered throughout 
India, even amongst the hills of the frontier tribes. We are 
grateful that it has fallen on much barren ground, but can no 
longer allow the dissemination of unlimited poison. That is 
the position the Government of India have had to face. That 
is why we have felt compelled to provide ourselves with a 
weapon against insidious attacks. The Bill is aimed at the in- 
augurators of dangerous sedition, not at political reform, not at 
the freedom of speech of the people of India." 

The Bill was passed the same day, to operate for a period 
of three yesiTS from the 1st November 1907. It has since 
however been extended by notification for a further period of 
six months and is now^ in force (see A'ppx.). 



RECENT PREVENTIVE LEGISLATION. 223 

In the following year another preventive measure of an 
urgent character was enacted concurrently w-ith the 'Explosive 
Substances Act.' This was a "Bill for the prevention of incite- 
ments to murder and other offences in newspapers." When 
introducing the Bill on the 8th June, 1908, Sir Harvey Adamson 
said : — "The Bill is a sequel to the Explosive Substances Bill, 
and is intended to meet the same emergency. There are %wo 
factors in this emergency, neither of which it is possible to ig- 
nore, if the evil is to be adequateh^ dealt with. The first is the 
actual making and using of bombs, which has been met by the 
Bill which has just been passed into law. The second is the 
public incitement to murder and acts of violence carried on 
through the medium of an infamous section of the Press. 
These two factors are as inseparable as cause and effect. If 
you legislate for the effect without legislating for the cause, you 
•do nothing. The present Bill is therefore as urgent as the one 
with which we have just been dealing. In the opinion of the 
•Government of India it is absolutely necessary for the public 
safety that it should be passed into law with the utmost possible 
despatch. The circumstances which have led to this legislation 
are fresh in the minds of all of us. It is therefore not necessary 
for me to give a history of the events, of the bomb outrages, and 
I am the more disinclined to do so because certain persons 
accused in connection with these transactions are still under 
trial. There is one point, and only one, in connection with the 
proceedings that I am compelled to mention, in order to support 
and justify the legislation in which we are engaged. It is the 
close connection between the Manicktollah conspirators and a 
certain section of the Press. Some have confessed that they 
drew their inspiration from newspaper writings. Among others 
the young man who threw the bomb at Mozufferpur has admit- 
ted that he was incited by writings in the Yugantar. I will 
make no further comments on events which are now suh judice. 
Wliat I have stated is taken from proceedings in Courts of 
Justice, and is already public property. 

"Now turning," the Hon'ble Member continued, " to the 
class of newspaper against which this Bill is directed, I find 
that the Yugantar has been on five occasions during the past 
year the subject of prosecution for the offence of sedition. 



224^ THE LAW OP SEDITION. 

On four occasions the printer and publisher has been convicted^ 
and one case is still pending. The authors ut the offending 
articles have nover come forth into the light. So far from 
being deterred by prosecution, a fresh printer and publisher 
has been registered on each occasion of conviction and the 
tone of the newspaper has continued unimproved. In spite of 
five prosecutions the Yugantar still exists and is as violent as 
ever. The tj'^pe of sedition has been incitement to subversion 
of British rule by deeds of violence. The policy of the news- 
paper has been to court prosecution in order to create pseudo- 
martyrs, and thus to enlist sympathy on the side of anarchy, 
and it may be presumed that a further inducement was to 
increase the circulation of the newspaper by pandering to the 
tastes of the depraved. I quote the following extract from 
the official translation of an article in the Yugantar which 
appeared a few days after the attempt on an officer's life in 
Mozufferpur which^ resulted in the terrible death of two ladies." 
The Hon'ble Member then (Quoted a passage which was after- 
wards the subject of the Yugantar trial already referred to, and 
portions of ^vhich were put to the jury by the learned Judge 
(see Ch. xiii). 

"Two days ago,'' he continued, "I saw a telegram from 
Calcutta stating that the Yugantar, which usually appears on 
Saturday, had unexpectedly appeared on Friday, that thou- 
sands of copies had been struck, and that they were selling at a 
rupee a copy. The telegram gave some description of the con- 
tents, which in violence outvied any previous issue. I have not 
yet received the full translations. I have up to this point con- 
fined myself to the Yugantar, because it has already obtained sO' 
great a notoriety that nothing that I can say can make it more 
notorious. But writings of a similar type abound in other news- 
papers, not only in Calcutta but throughout India. I will not 
give any of these disreputable papers an advertisement by men' 
tioning their names. I will content myself with stating the 
substance of articles which I have culled from them. One 
article referring to the partition of Bengal states that the 
ruthless knife of the butcher has severed in twain the throbbing 
body of the mother-land, and makes frantic appeals to all sona 
of the soil to combine and avenge the atrocity. Another makes 



RECENT PREVENTIVE LEGISLATION. 225 

insidious attempts to propagate the cult of Ramdas who instigated 
Shivaji to revolt against Moslem rule. Another instigates 
Indians to sacrifice their lives and to teach the rulers a bitter 
lesson. Another urges the Bengalis and the Gurkhas to join 
hands and rebel against the oppression of the bureaucracy. 
Another advises the Bengalis to resort to red, as the colour of 
revenge, and to sing the hymn of retaliation : ' A hundred 
heads for one head, to avenge the murder of the mother-land.' 
Another states that a huge sacrificial fire should be lit up 
and fed, not with ghee, but with blood. Another advocates 
that Indians should make use of blacksmith's tools, lathis ^ and 
slings and stones, to overmatch the enemies of their country. 
Another says that if by resorting to boycott we can gain our 
desires, we can only be said to postpone for the present our 
resolve to shed blood. Another says that if we desire indepen- 
dence we should be ready to be massacred by our rulers, so that 
their sword may become blunt. Another exhorts to die after 
killing, as therein the glory of dying will be enhanced. Another 
urges the sacrifice of life for liberty, for is it not a fact that Kali 
will not be propitiated without blood. Another advocates the 
methods of Nihilists and the use of bombs. I might go on for 
hours quoting such types as these. To an Englishman who 
knows not India, they would appear to be little more than ridi- 
culous bombast. But to impressionable and immature minds 
in the East, they present an entirely different significance. We 
have already seen the terrible effect that they produce on the 
youthful student, and they must be judged by Eastern and not 
by Western standards. We have striking examples of how 
they have converted the timid Bengali into the fanatical Ghazi, 
and they are not to be ignored. The difference between the 
East and the West in this respect is the difference between drop- 
ping a lighted match on a stone floor, and dropping it in a 
powder magazine." 

"I have quoted," he went on to add, "some of the 
dangerous incitements that are published by unscrupulous 
newspapers. I have given facts showing the effect which such 
wrritings have produced on misguided young men, and I have 
shown that prosecution has been tried, and tried again, and has 
completely failed to put a stop to this incitement to outrage. 
D, LS 15 



226 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

Under these circumstances what is the duty of a responsible 
government ? Its bounden duty surely is not only to make 
adequate provision to punish the perpetrators of outrages that 
actually occur, but also to close the fountain head, and to insure 
that colleges of anarchy, assassination, rebellion, and violence 
are not openly maintained under the guise of newspapers cir- 
culated among the public." 

The Hon'ble Member then proceeded to explain the pro- 
posed provisions. " The present Bill," he said, "is confined 
entirely to the emergency which is now facing us. It is intended 
to provide a more effective way than prosecution for attempts 
tluough newspapers to incite to murder and acts of violence. 
It is not meant as a substitute for, but as a supplement to 
prosecution. It is directed against newspapers which jiersistently 
defy the law, which court prosecution, which set up dummies for 
punishment while the real authors lie concealed, and which 
establish themselves as schools of anarchy and outrage, with the 
object of debauching young and immature minds, and inciting 
men to murder, armed revolt, and secret and diabolical schemes 
of general assassination. The only way to deal with such news- 
papers is to put an end to their existence, and this we propose 
to do in the Bill, by giving power to confiscate the printing-press 
and to extinguish the newspaper. This is the object of the 
present Bill, and these two powers are all the powers that it 
contains. Next as regards the means for effecting these ends. 
There are two ways in which they can be effected, by exe- 
cutive action or by judicial action. The former would be more 
prompt, and there are many who have urged us to adopt it. The 
latter, however, is more in accordance with the principles of 
modern administration, and at the sacrifice it may be, of some 
efficiency, we have chosen it. The Bill empowers the Magis- 
trate, on application made on behalf of the Local Government, 
to take action in respect of the printing-press concerned, when 
he is of opinion that a newspaper contains any incitement to 
murder, or to an offence under the Explosive Substances Act, or 
to an act of violence. The first step is a notice to all concerned 
affixed on the place where the printing-press is. The next is the 
hearing of the case, which will be in the nature of a criminal 
miscellaneous proceeding. Evidence will be given on behalf of 



KECENT PREVENTIVE LEGISLATION. 227 

the Local Government, and evidence may be tendered by any 
-one who opposes the action. The Magistrate will then record a 
finding, and if the finding is that the newspaper contained the 
incitement alleged, he will proceed to order forfeiture of the 
printing-press. He will have the discretion of keeping the 
printing-press under attachment during the hearing of the case. 
Against an order of forfeiture an appeal will lie to the High 
Court, the period of limitation being fifteen days. A further 
power is given to the Local Government. When an order of 
forfeiture has been passed, the Local Government ma}^ annul the 
declaration made by the printer and publisher under the Press 
and Registration of Books Act, the effect of which annulment is 
that the newspaper will cease to lawfully exist." 

His Excellency Lord Minto, the President, summed up the 
situation as follows : — " The lamentable incidents at Muzaffar- 
pur have sent a thrill of horror throughout India, and have too 
clearly warned us that we must be prepared to deal immediately 
with an iniquitous conspiracy, and with murderous methods 
hitherto unknown to India." " To the best of my belief it has 
largely emanated from sources beyond the confines of India. 
Its anarchical aims and the outrageous doctrines it inculcates 
are entirely new to this country. But unfortunately the seeds 
of its wickedness have been sown amongst a strangely im- 
pressionable and imitative people — seeds that have been daily 
nurtured by a system of seditious wTiting and seditious speaking 
of unparallelled virulence, vociferating to beguiled youth that 
outrage is the evidence of patriotism and its reward a martyr's 
•crown." 

" It has been," His Excellency added, " with a heavy sense 
of responsibility that the Government of India has recognised 
that the law of the land has not been strong enough to enable 
us to cope with the present emergency. We have felt that we 
must have further powers. We have had two main points 
before us— How best to deal -with bomb outrages and the con- 
spiracies connected with them ; and how to annihilate the evil 
influence which has done so much to inspire them. The machin- 
ery we have decided to adopt is before you in two Bills. In 
them, we have, after careful consideration, empowered judicial 
rather than executive procedure." 



228 THE LAV/ OF SEDITION. 

- "I look upon to-day's legislation as exceptional, as framed) 
to meet dangerous emergencies, and as regards the Newspaper 
Bill to give powers to deal with a particular class of criminal 
printed matter. It is quite possible our Bills may not be strong 
enough, and in that case we shall not fail to amend them. But 
the Newspaper Bill in no way takes the place of a General 
Press Act, and it in no way ties our hands as to the future intro- 
duction of such an Act. In my opinion a further general control 
of the Press in India is imperatively necessary. I believe it 
would be welcomed by the best Indian newspapers. They have 
recognised the evil of unbridled journalistic freedom under Indian 
conditions — conditions entirely different from those existing at 
home, where public opinion, based on the teachings of centuries 
of constitutional government, would be ever ready to refuse or 
to ridicule such unwholesome vapourings as are daily furnished 
to the people of India. India is not ripe for complete freedom 
of the Press. It is unfair upon her people that for daily informa- 
tion, such as it is, they should be dependent upon unscrupulous 
caterers of literary poison. We are called upon to regulate its 
sale. No exaggerated respect for principles of English freedom, 
totally unadapted to Indian surroundings, can justify us in 
allowing the poison to work its will." 

The Bill was then passed as Act VII of 1908 and is now in 
force (see Appx.). 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE LATEST PRESS LAW. 

The views expressed by His Excellency Lord Minto at the 
€ouncil Meeting of the 8th. of June 1908, as to the 'imperative 
necessity ' for a General Press Act for India, took effect in a new 
measure, which, without interfering with the operation of exist- 
ing laws, either penal or preventive, was designed to check the 
evil complained of. On the 4th February, 1910, a Bill was intro- 
duced " to provide for the better control of the Indian Press." 
The scope and character of this important measure, as well as 
the circumstances which contributed to induce special legislation 
may be ascertained from the exhaustive speech of the Hon'ble 
Member in charge of the Bill. 

Sir Herbert Risley in introducing the measure said : — 
^ ' In the first place let me state as simply as possible what the Bill 
proposes to do. It will be convenient if I first describe the kind 
of matter which may not be published. This is set out in clause 
4 of the Bill, under six separate heads. The first of these re- 
lates to incitements to murder, or to any offence under tha Ex- 
plosive Substances Act, or to any actual violence. Incitements 
of this nature are already covered by the Newspapers (Incite- 
ments to Offences) Act of 1908, but we think it advisable to 
include them in this Bill, in order that we may, if necessary, take 
action of a less severe kind than that prescribed by the Act of 
1908. The next kind of writing which is forbidden is that which 
is likely to seduce any officer, soldier or sailor from his allegiance 
or his duty. That calls for no comment : it is obvious that 
such writings must be dangerous to the public welfare. 

' ' Then under head (c) we come to writings which are likely 
to bring into hatred or contempt His Majesty, or the Govern- 
ment, or any lawful authority, or any Native Prince or Chief 
under the suzerainty of His Majesty, or which are likely to ex- 
cite disaffection against His Majesty, or the Government, or suCh 
Princes or Chiefs, or to excite antipathy between members of 
different races, castes, classes, religions or sects. The greater 



230 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

{)ai't of this head is covered by the terms of sectious 12dA and 
153A of the Indian Penal Code. But we have made two- 
additions of some importance. In the first place we have 
included what I may describe as the preaching of sedition against 
the Princes or Chiefs of our Native States. We have had not a 
few instances of newspapers published in British India con- 
taining seditious matter of that kind. The Government of India 
cannot tolerate this. They cannot allow their territories to be 
used as a safe asylum from which attacks can be launched upon 
Indian Princes. The other direction in which this heading goei^ 
beyond the terms of the two sections I have (luoted, is that 
it includes the bringing of any lawful authority into hatred 
or contempt. There have been many venomous attacks upon. 
Magistrates and Judges, even upon Judges of the High Courts. 
and this must be prevented. 

' ' The fourth heading relates to intimidation and black- 
mailing. It will cover the case of the blackmailing of Indian. 
Princes against which the corresponding clause of Lord Lytton's 
Act of 1878 was directed. The fifth heading prohibits mattei 
which is likely to encourage or incite any person to interfere 
with the administration of the law, or with the maintenance of 
law and order. Under the Indian Criminal Law Amendment 
Act of 1908, the Government have power to declare that an 
association which has these objects is an unlawful association, 
and a newspaper should not be allowed to do what an associa- 
tion may not do. The last sub-clause deals with the intimida- 
tion of public servants, and is taken verbatim from the Act of 
1878. The protection which this sub-clause will give is certainly 
more necessary now than it was thirty years ago." 

"' I will now show," the Hon'ble Member continued, " how 
we propose to prevent the publication of matter of the kind I 
have described. Under the Press and Ptegistration of Books 
Act of 1867 every person who wishes to keep a press for the print- 
ing of books or papers must make a declaration to that effect 
before a Magistrate. Another provision of that Act requires 
that every printer and publisher of a newspaper must make a 
similar declaration. These declarations are registered, and are 
available for the information of any one who wishes to take 
proceedings against the press or the newspaper. Clause 3 of 



TUE LATEST PKESS LAW. 231 

our Bill provides that every person, who makes a declaration 
hereafter as the keeper of a press, must deposit security for 
an amount to be fixed in each case by the Magistrate, but not 
being less than Ks. 500 or more than Rs. 5,000. Clause 8 con- 
tains a similar provision in respect of the publisher of a news- 
paper. The printer of a newspaper is not required to deposit 
security, as his case is already covered by the provision requiring 
security from the person who keeps the press. These provisions, 
as I have said, apply only to future registrations. In the 
case of existing presses and existing newspapers no security can 
be demanded until the press or paper offends by printing or 
publishing matter of the prohibited kind. But when a press or 
newspaper has printed or published such matter, the Local 
Government may at once call upon the person registered as the 
keeper of the press, or the publisher of the newspaper, to 
deposit security to an amount to be fixed by the Local Govern- 
ment, subject to the same limits as are prescribed for fresh 
registration." 

"The next stage in the procedtu'c provided by the Bill," 
he continued, ' ' is that the Local Government can order the for- 
feiture of the security deposited, if it appears that the press has 
printed, or the newspaper has published, any matter of the 
prohibited kind. If the keeper of the press, or the publisher 
of the newspaper wishes to continue his business after such an 
order has been passed, he is at liberty to do so, but he must make 
a fresh declaration under the Press and Registration of Books 
Act, and the Magistrate may then demand enhanced security 
up to a maximum of Rs. 10,000. Should the keeper of a presH, 
or the publisher of a newspaper, again publish prohibited mattei- 
after enhanced security has been taken, the Local Government 
may order the forfeiture of the enhanced security in the case of 
the newspaper, and of both security and press in the case of the 
printing-press. No keeper of a press who is registered at 
the time of the passing of this Bill will be affected by its 
provisions, unless and until he offends by printing prohibited 
matter ; but if he does that, he may be called upon to deposit 
security. If he again offends, his security may be forfeited, 
while for a third offence both security and press may be 
forfeited. For persons who are now registered as publisheiij 



232 THE LAW or SEDITION. 

of newspapers the procedure is the same. That is to say, no 
interference at all until one ofTence is committed ; then a 
demand for security, which may be forfeited for the second 
offence ; next the taking of enhanced security, and the for- 
feiture of this enhanced security for the third offence. In the 
case of new registration security is demanded from the begin- 
ning. This is necessary to provide against an evasion of the 
law by new registrations which are new only in name." 

" It will be readily admitted," he added, " that if we take 
security at all, we must take it from the keepers of printing- 
presses ; for the law, to be effective, must cover not only news- 
papers, but also books, pamphlets, leaflets, and every other kind 
of document by which seditious matter can be disseminated. 
But it may be asked, why take from the publisher of a news- 
paper, in addition to taking it from the keepers of presses ? 
The answer is that we cannot always be certain of getting at the 
newspaper through its press, for difficulties have arisen in ascer- 
taining at what press a newspaper is printed. Many of the 
small newspapers, which are notorious offenders, have no 
press of their own, but are printed at a job press, which may be 
changed from month to month, and it is by no means easy to 
learn with certainty at which particular press an offending 
issue of the newspaper was published. Moreover, if security 
were not demanded from the publisher of a newspaper, he 
might continue to offend with no greater penalty than the 
demanding of security from each of the different presses at 
which successive issues of his journal were printed. We have 
fixed a minimum as well as a maximum for the security to be 
demanded, in order to give an indication which will guide officers 
in all ordinary cases. But to meet the exceptional cases of the 
petty press, which publishes only trade circulars, bill headings 
and the like, and the case of the school cr college magazine, 
and other similar publications which are not newspapers in 
the ordinary sense of the term, though they cannot be excluded 
from the definition — in order to meet these cases, we have 
given the Magistrate power to take reduced security, or to 
dispense with security altogether." 

"The provisions which I have described," he continued, 
' ' so far relate to the cases of newspapers and of matter which 



THE LATEST PRESS LAW. -^^ 

is printed at presses that are known. But we have also to deal 
with books and pamphlets, especially the latter^ which are 
printed out of India, or secretly in India. To meet these 
cases power is taken for the Local Government to declare by 
notification that such publications are forfeited, and to issue 
search-warrants for their discovery. In aid of this provision 
power is also given to customs officials to detain suspected 
packages pending examination of their contents by the Local 
Government, and to post-office officials to open and detain, 
with a like object, any suspected packet which has been 
transmitted by post. We have also prohibited the trans- 
mission by post of any newspaper in respect of which the 
necessary declaration and deposit of security, v/hen required, 
have not been made. Finally, we have laid an obligation on 
the printer of a newspaper to deliver to Government, at the 
time of publication, two copies of every issue. This has been 
rendered necessary by the failure of certain newspaper pro- 
prietors to send punctually the copies for which the Govern- 
ment subscribe, while in one case a subscription equal to ten 
times the ordinary subscription w^as demanded from the 
Government." 

The Hon'ble Member then proceeded to describe the safe- 
guards provided in the proposed measure against any improper 
use of its provisions. " So far," he said, " I have dealt only 
with the powers which are given by the Act. I will nov: turn 
to the check which we have provided. This consists of an ap- 
peal to a special tribunal of three Judges of the High Court 
against any order of forfeiture passed by the Government. 
If it appears to the High Court that the matter, in respect 
of which the order was passed, does not come within the terms 
of section i of this Bill, then the High Court will set aside the 
order of forfeiture. I think it wall be admitted that, that is a 
very complete check upon any hasty or improper action by a 
Local Government. We have, therefore, barred all other legal 
remedies. There are two other clauses that I must mention. 
One provides that the penalty for keeping a press, or publish- 
ing a newspaper, without making the deposit of security, 
shall be the same as that imposed upon a person who keeps a 
press or publishes a newspaper, without making the declaration 



234 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

required by the Press and Registration of Books Act. 
The other is a provision which saves the operation of other 
laws." 

"I have explained," he added, "the scope of the Bill, 
what it proposes to do. I will now mention its limitations, 
what it does not propose to do. lu the first place it does- 
not create a censorship. It imposes no antecedent restraint on 
the Press : a man may publish what he pleases. He has the- 
widest range for every form of intellectual activity within 
the limits laid down by the law. Secondly, it is not, like 
the Press Act of 1878, a purely executive measure. The 
initiative, indeed, rests with the Executive Government, but 
ample secuiity against hasty or arbitrary action is provided, 
in the form of what is virtually an appeal to a highly com- 
petent judicial authority. Thirdly, it is not a measure of 
universal licensing, with power to the Government to withdraw 
or refuse a license at discretion. The liberty of unlicensed 
printing, for which Milton pleaded three centuries and a half 
ago, and at the time pleaded in vain, is untouched by this Bill. 
Security is demanded only from papers established after the 
passing of the Act. That is necessary to guard against the- 
Protean changes of identity, of which we have had illustrations 
in Bengal. But security is one thing, and a system of licensing 
is another. Security may rightly be required in the interests 
of the community in order to guarantee that those, who 
undertake for the first time the important task of instructing 
the people regarding public affairs, shall at any rate be fully 
aware of the responsibility they incur. I do not set much 
store by precedents and parallels drawn from foreign sources. 
As Lord Morley has pointed out, no political principle what- 
ever is capable of application in every sort of circumstances 
without reference to conditions in every place and at every 
time. Each country has its own problems, and must solve them 
in its own way. India has hers, of which this is one of the grav- 
est. We too must travel on our own road with such guidance 
as our necessities give us ; we cannot walk by borrowed light." 

The Hon'ble Member proceeded in the next place to ex- 
plain the considerations which operated to produce such a mea- 
sure, and the reasons for special legislation. '' The Press in> 



THE LATEST PRESS LAW. 235- 

ludia," he said, "has been free, except during two periods, 
for the last seventy-five years. The two periods which I have 
referred to were, first the period of the Mutiny, when the entire 
J*ress was under absolute control for one year and no more; 
and the second was from 1878 to 1881, when a portion of the 
Press was subject to the virtually nominal control imposed by the 
Vernacular Press Act of 1878. I will not touch upon the earlier 
years, but I will begin about the middle of the period which 
I have marked off, and I will endeavour to show what use the 
Press has made in comparatively recent times of Sir Charles 
Metcalfe's famous concession. Thirty-three years ago I was 
present, as Under-Secretary to the Government of Bengal, at a 
notable Durbar held by Sir Ashley Eden at Belvedere on the 
12th August 1877. In addressing that Durbar the Lieutenant- 
Governor denounced in strong terms the disloyalty and sedition 
which were freqviently published in the native press of Bengal. 
Even then rank treason was preached, and a war of independence 
was talked of, and Sir Ashley Eden thought it necessary to warn 
those vrhom he addressed that the character of the vernacular 
Press was creating an unfavourable impression, in many quar- 
ters, of the loyalty of the Bengalis. The warning was not heed- 
ed, and in the following year the tone and tendencies of the Presa 
led to the passing of the Act of 1878, the object of which, like 
the object of the present Bill, was to prevent, not to punish 
sedition. As every one knows, the Act was in force for only 
three years, during which time recourse was only once had to 
its provisions. Its defects from our present point of view are 
palpable. It applied only to the vernacular Press and left un- 
touched journals published in English, whether owned by Indians 
or by Europeans. Its machinery was purely executive, judicial 
intervention being expressly excluded ; and it contained an im- 
practicable provision for censorship which was soon repealed. 
The whole Act was repealed in 1881, and from that time till 
now the Press has been left to the operation of the ordinary law . 
Up to the year 1907 the policy of the Government was one of 
extreme forbearance, and prosecutions were of rare occurrence. 
Indeed, during the 37 years from 1870 to 1907 the law was put in 
motion only sixteen times. Among these cases, there is not a 
single case of acquittal. On two occasions the jury disagreed. 



236 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

but the offenders would have been tried again, if Governmens 
bad not thought fit to accept their apologises. I have described 
our forbearance as extreme ; many people may think it exces- 
sive. But the ingrained instincts of all Englishmen are averse 
to interference with the Press, even by way of prosecution, and 
we continued to hope that time and education would bring wis- 
dom. Our hope was vain ; the Press did not mend its ways. 
It went from bad to worse, and at length it produced its inevit- 
able results in the cruel and oppressive methods of the boycott. 
It was clear, moreover, that matters were not going to stop 
there, and that worse things were in store for us. As every one 
knows, we had not long to wait. Accordingly on the 3rd June, 
1907, after careful and anxious consideration, the Government 
of India issued the following resolution : — 

' Certain circumstances attending the recent outbreaks 
of lawlessness in the Punjab and Eastern Bengal have forced 
upon the attention of the Government of India the deliberate 
efforts made by a number of newspapers, both English and verna- 
cular, to inflame the minds of the people, to encourage ill-wili 
between classes, to promote active hostility to the Government, 
and to disturb the public tranquillity in many different ways. 
The Governor-General has no desire whatever to restrict the 
legitimate liberty of the Press to criticise the action of the Govern- 
ment, and he would be most reluctant to curtail the freedom 
of the many well-conducted papers because of the misbehaviour 
of a few disloyal journals. But he is responsible for the main- 
tenance of law and order among a vast and heterogeneous popu- 
lation, and he is unable to tolerate the publication of writings 
which tend to arouse the disorderly'' elements of society, and to 
incite them to concerted action against the Government. On 
these grounds he has determined that the dissemination of sedi- 
tion, and the promotion of ill-Avill between classes must be re- 
Jiressed by firm and sustained action under the penal law. 
Accordingly, in supersession of previous orders on the sub- 
ject, His Excellency in Council empowers Local Governments to 
institute prosecutions in consultation with their legal advisers, 
in all cases where the law has been wilfully infringed. He hopes 
that the warning now given may, in great measure, avert the 
necessity for numerous prosecutions, but if this hope should 



THE LATEST PRESS LAW. 23T 

tmliappily not be realised^ he relies upon the local authorities to 
deal with the evil efiectively.' ■ 

' ' Up to the end of last year,' ' he continued, ' ' forty-seven 
prosecutions had been undertaken under these orders. Nob 
one of these cases has failed, although in some instances the 
editor, manager, or proprietor has escaped, and only the 
registered printer or publisher has been convicted, while in others 
the Government have accepted an apology and withdrawn the 
prosecutions. Nevertheless we have to acknowledge defeat. 
We have succeeded in the minor object of punishing a certain 
number of offenders ; we have failed in the major, the vital, the 
all-important object of curing a grave evil. We have proved 
that the law as it stands is sufficient to enable convictions for 
sedition to be obtained ; but we have also proved that it was not 
sufficient to restrain the Press within the limits of legitimate 
discussion. In spite of our successful prosecutions, we see the 
most influential and most widely read portion of the Indian 
Press incessantly occupied in rendering the Government by law 
established odious in the sight of the Indian people. ' The Gov- 
ernment is foreign, and therefore selfish and tyrannical. It 
drains the country of its wealth ; it has impoverished the people, 
and brought about famine on a scale and with a frequency un- 
known before. Its public works, roads, railways, and canals 
have generated malaria. It has produced plague by poisoning 
wells in order to reduce the population that has to be held in 
subjection. It has deprived the Indian peasant of his land, the 
Indian artisan of his industry, and the Indian merchant of his 
trade. It has destroyed religion by its godless system of educa- 
tion. It seeks to destroy caste, by polluting maliciously and 
of set purpose the salt and sugar that men eat, and the cloth 
that they wear. It allows Indians to be ill-treated in British 
colonies. It levies heavy taxes and spends them on the army. 
It pays high salaries to Englishmen, and employs Indians only 
in the worst paid posts. In short, it has enslaved a whole- 
people, who are now struggling to be free.' 

' ' My enumeration, ' ' he added, ' ' may not be exhaustive} 
but these are some of the statements that are now being implant- 
ed as axioms in the minds of the rising generation of educated 
youths, the source from which we recruit the great body of 



238 THE LAW OF SEDITIOlSr. 

civil officials wlio administer India. Every day the Press pro- 
claims, openly, or by suggestion, or allusion, that the only cure 
for the ills of India is independence from foreign rule, independ- 
ence to be won by heroic deeds, self-sacrifice, martyrdom on the 
part of the young, in any case by some form of violence. 
Hindu mythology, ancient and modern history, and more 
especially the European literature of re%'olution, are ransacked 
to furnish examples that justify revolt and proclaim its inevitable 
success. The methods of guerilla warfare as practised in Cir- 
cassia, Spain, and South Africa; Mazzini's gospel of political 
assassination ; Kossuth's most violent doctrines ; the doings of 
Russian Nihilists ; the murder of the Marquis Ito ; the dialogue 
between Arjuna and Krishna in the Gita, a book that is to Hin- 
dus what the Imitation of Christ is to emotional Christians — 
all these are pressed into the service of inflaming impressionable 
minds. The last instance is perhaps the worst. I can imagine 
no more wicked desecration than that the sacrilegious hand of 
the anarchist should be laid upon the Indian Song of Songs, and 
that a masterpiece of transcendental philosophy and religious 
ecstasy should be perverted to the ])ase uses of preaching poli- 
tical murder." 

"Sedition," he continued, "has the monopoly of its au- 
dience, and that audience is large, and is increasing daily. No 
means are left untried to swell its numbers, and to infect the 
masses of the people. The peaceful life of the village has been 
invaded by youthful enthusiasts, who read out to an illiterate 
audience, attracted by natural curiosity, articles preaching the 
doctrines which I have described. Emissaries disguised as 
religious devotees travel about the country, and spread the 
gospel of anarchy among simple folk who believe that whatever 
is printed must be true. Worst of all, attempts are being made 
to enlist the women of India on the side of rebellion, by dissem- 
inating in the zenana, libels upon the Government — among them 
that infamous story about the introduction of plague. The 
consequences of this ever-flowing stream of slander and in- 
citement to outrage are now upon us. What was dimly foreseen 
a few years ago has actually come to pass. We are at the present 
moment confronted with a murderous conspiracy, whose aim 
is to subvert the Government of the country, and to make 



THE LATEST PRESS LAW. 239 

British rule impossible by establishing general terrorism. Their 
■organisation is effective ^nd far-reaching ; their numbers are 
•believed to be considerable ; the leaders work in secret and are 
iblindly obeyed by their youthful followers. The method they 
favour, at present, is political assassination ; the method of 
Mazzini in his worst moods. Already they have a long score 
of murders, or attempted murders to their account. These 
things are the natural and necessary consequence of the 
teachings of certain journals. They have jjrepared the soil in 
^vhich anarchy flourishes ; tbe}'^ have sown the seed, and they 
are answerable for the crop. This is no mere general statement, 
the chain of causation is clear. Not only does the campaign of 
violence date from the change in tone of the Pres?, but specific 
outbursts of incitement have been followed by specific outrages.' ' 

In conclusion, the Hon'ble Member said: — "I appeal to 
the Council to give their cordial approval to this Bill. It is 
called for in the interests of the State, of our officers, both Indian 
and European, and most of all in the interests of the rising 
generation of young men. In this matter, indeed, the interests 
of the State and the interests of the people are one and the same. 
If it is good for India that British rule should continue, it is 
equally essential that the lelations between the Government and 
the educated community should be cordial and intimate, and 
that cannot long be the case if the organs of that community lay 
themselves out to embitter those relations in every sort of way, 
and to create a permanent atmosphere of latent and often open 
hostility. There is plenty of work in India waiting to be done, 
tut it never will be done if the energies of the educated classes 
-are wasted in incessant abuse and suspicion of Government." 

These are the chief passages of a memorable and important 
speech. Its value lies not merely in its lucid exposition of the 
provisions of the Press Act, but mainly perhaps in the vivid 
picture it affords of the extraordinary conditions which called 
it forth, and of the recent political situation in India, of which 
it is destined to remain a faithful and permanent record. 

The Bill, which strangely enough was the, first measure 
of the new and enlarged Legislative Council, was passed on the 
8th February, and takes its place in the Indian Statute-book 
as Act I of 1910 (see Appx.). 



240 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

After so lucid an exposition of its provisions further com- 
ment on the Act is unnecessary. It is worth while, however, 
to consider how far th.e new measure aSects the operation of 
existing laws. Section 26 of this Act, like section 10 of the 
Nev;spapers Act (VII of 1908), expressly provides that it shall 
in no way interfere with the prosecution of offenders under the 
provisions of other laws. As regards the Penal Code, therefore, 
it may be said that its penaJ provisions against sedition and 
its cot^nate offences remain unaffected. As the initiative rests- 
with the Government in any case, it is optional with them 
cither to prosecute under the Penal Code, or to resort to the 
machinery of the Press Act, as they may think fit. But even 
so, there seems to be no actual bar to the application of both 
remedies, either concurrently or consecutively. Then again, 
there are cases, e.g., where a press is unregistered and therefore 
unknown, where prosecution alone could be resorted to and the 
Press Act would be of little avail. 

It is to be observed, moreover, that the Act, being a Press- 
Act, is limited in its operation to the Press, and can only be 
applied to cases where sedition is disseminated through that 
medium. In other words, it applies only to written sedition 
or ' seditious libel.' It does not touch any of the other methods 
.)f dissemination specified in sections 124A and 153A. The 
i:«latform and the stage are beyond its influence. 

On the other hand, as regards Preventive measures it may 
1)8 said that the Press Act cannot affect the operation of such 
measures as the ' Dramatic Performances Act of 1876' or the 
' Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act of 1907,' for they are 
not in 'pari materia. 

As regards the ' Newspapers (Incitements to Offences) Act 
of 1908,' it may be said to have concurrent operation^ for it 
provides an alternative procedure. 

As to section 108 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act 
V of 1898), it has concurrent operation also, but only so far 
as the Press is concerned. That section, it will be seen, has a 
much wider scope, for it is framed to cover oral as well as written 
sedition. 

As regards the ' Press and Eegistration of Books Act of 
1 867,' it may be said to work conjointly. 



APPENDIX. 

PRESS AND REGISTRATION OF BOOKS ACT. 
ACT XXV OF 1867. 

AS AMENDED BY ACT X OF 1890. 

An Act for the regulation of Printing-presses and New^- 
]>af crs, for the preservation of copies of books printed in British 
India, and for the registration of such books. 

WHEREAS it is expedient to provide for the regulation of 
printing-presses and of periodicals contain- 

Preamble. . t i ■ i 

ing news, lor the preservation of copies 
of every book printed or lithographed in British India, and for 
the registration of such books ; It is hereby enacted as follows : — 

PART I. 

Preliminary. 
^ ,. , 1. In thisAct, unless there shall be some- 

luterpretntion-clause. . , , . , 

thing repugnant mthe subject or context, — ■ 

" book " includes every volume, part or division of a volume, 

.. ^ „ and pamphlet, in any language, and every 

sheet of music, map, chart or plan separately 

printed or lithographed : 

' ' British India ' ' means the territories which are or shall 

" British India ' ^® vested in Her Majesty or Her Successors 

by the Statute 21 & 22 Vict., cap. 106 (A71 

Act for the better government of India) * * * * : 

Magistrate ' ' means any person exercising the full powers 

,.„.,,„ of a Magistrate, and includes a Magistrate 

"Magistrate. f -r^ ,• ^ . ., , 

of Police * ^ * * : 

-, , words in the singular include the pluraL 

Number. . ° r 1 

and vice versa : 
„ , words denoting the masculine gender 

include females : 

D, LS 16 



242 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

And in every part of British India to which this Act shall 

extend, ' ' Local Government ' ' shall mean 
*' Local Governmeat. ,i • i i i -, ■ • 

the person authorised by law to administer 

executive government in such part, and includes a Chief Com- 
missioner. 

2, [Repeal of Act XI of 1835]. Rep. Act XIV of 1870. 



PART II. 

OF PRINTING-PRESSES AND NEWSPAPERS. 

3. Every book or paper printed within British India shall 
^ ^. , , , have printed leeibly on it the name of the 

Particulars to be . -^ n j 

printed on books and printer and the place of printing, and (if 
^'^^^'^*" the book or paper be published) [the name] 

of the publisher and the place of publication. 

4. No person shall, within British India, keep in his pos- 
^ ^ • i- session any press for the printing of books 

Keeper of printing- -^ '- x o 

press to make deciar- or papers, who shall not have made and sub- 
^ ^°°' scribed the following declaration before the 

Magistrate within whose local jurisdiction such press may be : 

■'1, A. B,, declare that I have a press for printing at ." 

And this last blank shall be filled up with a true and precise 
description of the place where such press may be situate. 

5. No printed periodical work, containing public 

news or comments on public news, shall 
tio^"orprhited'"plr'io' be published in British India, except in 
dicais containing pub- conformity with the rules hereinafter laid 

lie news. •' 

down : 
(1) The printer and the publisher of every such periodical 
work shall appear before the Magistrate within whose local ju- 
risdiction such work shall be published, and shall make and 
subscribe, in duplicate, the following declaration : 

■'I, A. B., declare that I am the printer [or publisher, or 

printer and publisher] of the periodical work entitled and 

printed [or published, or printed and published, as the case may 
he] at- ." 



APPENDIX. 243 

And the last blank in this form of declaration shall be filled 
up with a true and precise account of the premises where the 
printing or publication is conducted : 

(2) As often as the place of printing or publication is 
changed, a new declaration shall be necessary : 

(3) As often as the printer or the publisher who shall 
have made such declaration as is aforesaid shall leave British 
India, a new declaration from a printer or publisher resident 
within the said territories shall be necessary. 

6. Each of the two originals of every declaration so made 

and subscribed as is aforesaid, shall be au- 
^'"'^'"'SrltoV^ '''' thenticated by the signature and official seal 
of the Magistrate before whom the said 
declaration shall hsive been made. 

One of the said originals shall be deposited among the re- 
cords of the office of the Magistrate, and the 

Deposit. T n 1 T ■ ^ 

other shall be deposited among the records 
of the High Court of Judicature, or [other principal Civil Court 
of original jurisdiction for the place where] the said declaration 
shall have been made. 

The officer in charge of each original shall allow any person 
to inspect that original on payment of a 

Inspection and supply t r i i ii ■ j_ 

of copies. *^^ of one rupee, and shall give to any 

person applying, st copy of the said declara- 
tion, attested by the seal of the Court which has the custody 
of the original, on payment of a fee of two rupees. 

7. In any legal proceeding whatever, as well civil as 
r^fc f ■, criminal, the production of a copy of such 

Omce copy or de- •'- _ _ ^ •- 

ciaration to be primA declaration as is aforesaid, attested by the 
seal of some" Court empowered by this Act 
to have the custody of such declarations, shall be held (unless 
the contrary be proved) to be sufficient evidence, as against 
the person whose name shall be subscribed to such declaration, 
that the said person was printer or publisher, or printer and 
publisher (according as the words of the said declaration may 
be) of every portion of every periodical work whereof the title 
shall correspond with the title of the periodical work mentioned 
in the declaration. 



244 THE LAW 01' SEDITION. 

8. Provided always that any person who may have sub- 

scribed any such declaration as is aforesaid. 

New declaration "Y , , , 

persons who have and who may subsequently cease to be the 
X:q^!?;:S:ed"o pointer or publisher of the periodical work 
he j.rinters or pub- mentioned in such declaration, may appear 
before any Magistrate, and make and sub- 
scribe in duplicate the following declaration : — 

"I, A. B., declare that I have ceased to be the printer 
[or publisher, or printer and publishei] of the periodical work 

entitled .' ' 

Each original of the latter declaration shall be authenti- 
cated by signature and seal of the Magistrate 
'^"'''""iHng'r ''"'^ before whom the said latter declaration 
shall have been made, and ont; original of 
the said latter declaration shall be filed along with each original 
of the former declaration. 

The officer in charge of each original of the latter declaration 

shall allow any person applying to inspect 

Inspection and supply ^^^^^^ original on pavment of a fee of one 

of copies. o 1 ~ 

rupee, and shall give to any person apply- 
in<y, a copy of the said latter declaration, attested by the seal. 
of the Court having custody of the original, on payment of a 
fee of two rupees. 

In all trials in which a copy, attested as is aforesaid, of 

the former declaration shall have been put 

Putting copy in ^^ evidence, it shall be lawful to put in 

evidence. . . 

evidence a copy, attested as is aforesaid, 
of the latter declaration, and the former declaration shall nob 
be taken to be evidence that the declarant was, at any period 
subsequent to the date of the latter declaration, printer or 
publisher of the periodical Avork therein mentioned. 

TART III. 

DELIVERY OF BOOKS. 

9. Printed or lithographed copies of the whole of every 
Copies of books book which shall be printed or lithographed 

STen'fmenfoTAcTTo in British India after this Act shall come 
he delivered gratis to -^^^^ ^^^^^ together with all maps, prints or 

Government. ° 



APPENDIX. 



245 



other engravings belonging tliereto, finished and coloured in the 
same manner as the best copies of the same, shall, notwith- 
standing any agreement (if the book be published) between 
the printer and publisher thereof, be delivered by the printer 
at such place and to such officer as the Local Government 
shall, by notification in the official Gazette, from time to time 
direct, and free of expense to the Government; as follows, 
that is to say : — 

{(i) in any case, within one calendar month after the day 
on which any such book shall first be delivered out 
of the press, one such copy, and, 
{h) if within one calendar year from such day the Local 
Government shall require the printer to deliver other 
such copies not exceeding two in number, then within 
one calendar month after the day on which any 
such requisition shall be made by the Local Govern- 
ment on the printer, another such copy, or two other 
such copies, as the Local Government may direct, 
the copies so delivered being bound, sewed or stitched 
together and upon the best paper on which any copies of the 
book shall be printed or lithographed. 

The publisher or other parson employing the printer shall, 
at a reasonable time before the expiration of the said month, 
supply him with all maps, prints and engravings finished and 
coloured as aforesaid, which may b3 necessary to enable him 
to comply with the requirements aforesaid. 

Nothing in the former part of this section shall apply to — 
t(r) any second or subsequent edition of a book in which 
edition no additions or alterations either in the 
letter-press or in the maps, book prints or other 
engravings belonging to the book have been made, 
and a copy of the first or some preceding edition of 
which book has been delivered under "this Act, or 
(ii) any periodical work published in conformity with the 

rules laid down in section 5 of this Act. 
10. The officer to whom a copy of a book is deli- 
. ^ ^ . vered under the last foregoing section shall 

Uoeeipt for copies _ _ , . . 

vlelivercd under sec- give to the printer a receipt in Avriting 

tion 9. ,1 (. 

theretor. 



240 THE LAW OF SEDITIOX. 

11. The copy delivered pursuant to clause (a) of the first 
Tx- , . . paragraph of section 9 of this Act shall be 

Disposal or copies -^ _ or 

delivered under sec- disposed of as the Local Government shall 

tion 9. J- J • , • T • . 

irom time co time determine. Any copy or 
copies delivered pursuant to clause (6) of the said paragraph 
shall be transmitted to the British Museum or the Secretary 
of State for- India, or to the British Museum and the said 
Secretary of State, as the case may be. 



PART IV. 

PENALTIES, 

12. Whoever shall print or publish any book or paper 
Penalty for printing otherwise than in Conformity with the rule 

contrary to rule in contained in Section 3 of this Act shall, on 

flection 3. . . , . ht ■ i ■ ^ -i 

conviction bciore a Magistrate, be punished 
by fine not exceeding five thousand rupees, or by simple impri- 
sonment for a term not exceeding two years, or by both. 

13. Whoever shall keep in his possession any such press 

as aforesaid, without making such a de- 
Penalty for keeping , .. ■ • i i i.- a s: ^.i.- 

press without making claration as IS required by section i ol this 
declaration required ^^t, shall, on couviction before a Maeis- 

b}' section 4. . 

trate, be punished by fine not exceeding 
five thousand rupees, or by simple imprisonment for a term 
not exceeding two years, or by both. 

14. Any person who shall, in making any declaration 

under the authority of this Act, make a 
inSwrstatrni"nt" statement which is false, and which he 

either knows or believes to be false or does 
not believe to be true, shall on conviction before a Magistrate, 
be punished by fine not exceeding five thousand rupees, and 
imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years. 

15. Whoever shall print or publish any such periodical 

work as is hereinbefore described without 
or^'^ibHs^S^peS Conforming to the rules hereinbefore laid 
cais without conform- down, or whoever shall print or publish, or 
ing orues. ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^ ^^ ^^ printed or published, any 



APPENDIX. 247 

such periodical work, knowing that the said rules have not been 
obssrved with respect to that \vork, shall, on conviction before 
a Magistrate, be punished with fine not exceeding five thousand 
rupees, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years,; 
or both. 

16. If any printer of any such book as is referred to in 

section 9 of this Act shall neglect to deliver 

Penalty for not dell- • <• i i , 

vering Looks or not copies 01 the Same pursuant to that section^ 

s..pplying printer with ^^ ^^^^^ f ^j. ^ ^^^^ ^^f^^j^ .j^j.^^-^ ^ . ^^ 

Government such sum not exceeding fifty 
rupees as a Magistrate having jurisdiction in the place where 
the book was printed may, on the application of the ofiicer to 
whom the copies should have been delivered or of any person 
authorised by that officer in this behalf, determine to be in the 
circumstances a reasonable penalty for *the default, and, in ad- 
dition to such sum, such further sum as the Magistrate may 
determine to be the value of the copies which the printer ought 
to have delivered. 

If any publisher or other person employing any such printer 
shall neglect to supply him, in the manner prescribed in the 
second paragraph of section 9 of this Act, with the maps, prints 
or engravings which may be necessary to enable him to comply 
with the provisions of that section, such publisher or other 
person shall for every such default forfeit to the Government 
such sum not exceeding fifty rupees as such a Magistrate as 
aforesaid may, on such an application as aforesaid, determine 
to be in the circumstances a reasonable penalty for the default,; 
and, in addition to such sum, such further sum as the Magistrate 
may determine to be the value of the maps, prints or engravings 
w^hich such publisher or other person ought to have supplied. 

17. Any sum forfeited to the Government under the last 

foregoing section may be recovered, under 

JTZI "dis^oSl t^« ''^''^''^ «f t^« Magistrate determining 
thereof and of fines. the sum, or of his successor in office, in the 
manner authorised by the Code of Criminal 
Procedure for the time being in force, and within the period 
prescribed by the Indian Penal Code, for the levy of a fine. 



248 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

All fines or forfeitures under this Part of this Act shall, 
wlien recovered, be disposed of as the Local Government shall 
from time to time direct. 

PART V. 

REGISTRATION OF BOOKS. 

18. There shall be kept at such office, and by such officer 
as the Local Government shall appoint in 
^randa 'of" books!""' '^^^^ behalf, a book to be called a Catalogue 
of Books printed in British India, wherein 
shall be registered a memorandum of every book which shall 
have been delivered [pursuant to clause {a) of the first para- 
graph of section 9] of this Act. Such memorandum shall (so 
far as may be practicable) contain the following particulars 
(that is to say) : — ■ 

(1) the title of the book and the contents of the title-page, 

with a translation into English of such title and 
contents, when the same are not in the English 
language : 

(2) the language in which the book is written : 

(3) the name of the author, translator or editor of the 

book or any part thereof : 

(4) the subject : 

(5) the place of printing and the place of publication : 

' (6) the name or firm of the printer and the name or firm 
of the publishei- : 

(7) the date of issue from the press or of the publication : 

(8) the number of sheets, leaves or pages : 

(9) the size : 

(10) the 'first, second or other number of the edition: 

(11) the number of coi^ies of which the edition consists : 

(12) whether the book is printed or lithographed : 

(13) the price at which the book is sold to the public : and 

(14) the name and residence of the proprietor of the copy- 

right or of any portion of such copyright. 

Such memorandum shall be made and registered in the case 
of each book as soon as practicable after tht! delivery of the 
[copy thereof pursuant to clause (a) of the first paragraph of 
section 9]. 



APPENDIX. 249 

Every registration under this section shall, upon payment 
of the siun of two rupees to the officer 

Effect of regis- , . ^. • i ^( , i , , , 

tration. Keeping the said Catalogue, be deemed to 

be an entry in the Book of Eegistry kept 

under Act No. XX of 1847 {for the encouragement of learninfj 

in the territories subject to the Government of the East India 

■Company, hy the defining and providing for the enforcement of the 

right called copyright therein) ; and the provisions contained 

in that Act as to the said Book of Regis- 
Act XX of 1S47 , 1 11 , , ,- . J- X XI 
fappliad. tiy shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the 

said Catalogue. 

19. The memoranda registered during each quarter in the 

said Catalogue shall be published in the 

morindr'^dste'd: l^^^l ^^^^tJe as soon as may be after the 

end of such quarter, and a copy of the 

memoranda so published shall be sent tc the said Secretary 

of State, and to the Secretary to the Government of India in 

the Home Department, respectively. 



PART YI. 

MISCELLANEOUS. 

20. The Local Government shall have power to make 

such rules as may be necessary or desirable 

°^rules.™^ ^^ ^0^' carrying out the objects of this Act, 

and from time to time to repeal, alter and 

«.dd to such rules. 

All such rules, and all repeals and alterations thereof, and 

„ ... ^. additions thereto, shall be published in the 

Publication. ^ 

local Gazette. 

21. The Governor-General of India in Council may, bv 
Power to exclude any notification in the Gazette of India, exclude 

class of books from any class of books from the operation of 

operation of Act. -^ 

the whole or any part or parts of this Act. 

22. [Continuance of parts of Act.] Eep. Act X of 1890, s. 7. 

23. [Commencement ?i Rep. Act XIV of 1870. 



DRAMATIC PERFORMANCES ACT. 
ACT XIX OF 1878. 

PASSED BY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF INDIA IN COUNCIL. 

{Received the assent of the Governor-General on the l^th 
December 1876). 

An Act for the better control of public dramatic 
performances. 
WHEREAS it is expedient to empower the Government to 
prohibit public dramatic performances which 

Preamble. "■ ^ 

are scandalous, defamatory, seditious or ob- 
scene ; It is hereby enacted as follows : — 

^,^ . , 1. This Act may be called "The 

Short title, ■' 

Dramatic Performances Act, 1876 : 

It extends to the whole of British 

Local extent. 

India ; 

And it shall come into force at 
Cnmmencement. 

once. 

2. In this Act "Magistrate" means, in the Presidency 
,.,, . , ^ „ , ,. , Towns a Magistrate of Police, and elsewhere 

"Magistrate" defined. . " 

the Magistrate of the District. 

3. Whenever the Local Government is of opinion that 
Power to prohibit any plav, pantomime, or other drama per- 

certain dramatic per- formed or about to be performed in a public 

formances. 

place is — 

(a) of a scandalous or defamatory nature, or 

(h) likely to excite feelings of disaffection to the Govern- 
ment established by law in British India, or 

(c) likely to deprave and corrupt persons present at the 
performance, 

the Local Government, or outside the Presidency Town* 
and Rangoon the Local Government or such Magistrate as it 
may empov;er in this behalf, may by order prohibit the per- 
formance. 



APPENDIX. 251 

Explanation. — Any building or enclosure to which the 
public are admitted to witness a performance on payment of 
money, shall be deemed a ' ' public place' ' within the meaning 
of this section. 

4. A copy of any such order may be served on any person 

about to take part in the performance so 

Power to serve order . . ^ ^ • r 

of proLibition. j)rohibited or on the owner or occupier of 
any house, room or place in which such 
performance is intended to take place ; and any person on 
whom such copy is served, and who does, 
Penal ty^for^jiso ey- ^^_ willingly permits, any act in disobedience 
to such order, shall be punished on convic- 
tion before a Magistrate with imprisonment for a term which 
may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both. 

5. Any such order may be notified by proclamation, and 

a written or printed notice thereof may be 

Power to notify order. n , i r 

stuck up at any place or places adapted lor 
giving information of the order to the persons intending to take 
part in or to witness the performance so prohibited. 

Penalty for disobeying t)- Whoever, after the notification of 

prohibition. j^jjy g^pl^ order— 

(a) takes part in the performance prohibited thereby, 
or in any performance substantially the same as the performance 
so prohibited, or 

(&) in any manner assists in conducting any such perform- 
ance, or 

(c) is in wilful disobedience to such order present as a 
spectator during the whole or any part of any such performance, 
or 

{d) being the owner or occupier, or having the use of, any 
house, room or place, opens, keeps or uses the same for any such 
performance, or permits the same to be opened, kept or used for 
any such jjerfoimance, 

shall be punishable on conviction before a Magistrate with 
imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months^ 
or with fine, or with both, 



■252 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

7. For the purpose of ascertaining the character of any 

intended public dramatic performance, the 

Power to call for in- -,^ j Government or such officer as it may 
lormation. 

Specially empower in this behalf, may apply 

to the author, proprietor or printer of the drama about to be 

performed, or to the owner or occupier of the place in which it is 

intended to be performed, for such information as the Local 

Government or such officer thinks necessary.' 

Every person so applied to shall be bound to furnish the 
same to the best of his abilit}', and whoever contravenes this 
section shall be deemed to have committed an offence under 
section 176 of the Indian Penal Code. 

8. If any Magistrate has reason to belicv-e that any house, 

room or place is used, or is about to be used, 
Power to grant war- f^j, g^j^y performance prohibited under this 

rant to Police to enter *' -^ . -^ . 

and arrest and seize. Act, he may, by his warrant, authorize any 
officer of police to enter with such assistance 
as may be requisite, by night or by day, and by force if neces- 
sary, any such house, room or place, and to take into custody 
all persons whom he finds therein, and to seize all scenery, 
dresses and other articles found therein and reasonably suspected 
to have been used, or to be intended to be used, for the purpose 
of such performance. 

Saving of prosecu- 9. No conviction under this Act shall 

a:, Te'Zn/ml bar a prosecution under section 124A or 
and 294. section 294 of the Indian Penal Code. 

10. Whenever it appears to the Local Government that 

the provisions of this section are required 

drrZtTcpSfoJ'm'fnces in any local area, it may, with the sanction 

in any local area ex- ^f the Govcmor-General in Council, declare, 

cept under license. . . i n^ • i /-< 

by notification in the local omcial Gazette, 
that such provisions are applied to such area from a day to 
be fixed in the notification. 

On and after that day, the Local Government may order 
that no dramatic performance shall take place in any place of 
public entertainment within such area, except under a license 



APPEND [X. 253' 

to be granted by such Local Government, or such officer as it 
may especially empower in this behalf. 

The Local Government may also order that no dramatic 
performance shall take place in any place of public entertain- 
ment within such area, unless a copy of the piece, if and so far 
as it is written, or some sufficient account of its purport, if and 
so far as it is in pantomime, has been furnished, not less thaii 
three days before the performance, to the Local Government^. 
or to such officer as it may appoint in this behalf. 

A copy of any order under this section may be served oa 
any keeper of a place of public entertainment, and if thereafter 
he does, or willingly permits, any act in disobedience to such 
order, he shall be punishable on conviction before a Magistrate 
with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three 
months, or ^^ith fine, or with both. 

11. The powers conferred by this Act on the Local Gov- 
Powers exerciseiibie ernment mav be exercised also by the Gov- 

by Governor-General. ^,^,^,.(.^^,^,^1 i^ Council. 

Exclusion of perform- ^- Nothing in this Act applies to any 

ancesat religious fes- jairas or performances of a like kind at 
religious festivals. 



SECURITY FOR GOOD BEHAVIOUR. 

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE, S. 108. 

ACT V OF 1898. 

" Whenever a Chief Presidency or District Magistrate, or 

a Presidency Magistrate or a Magistrate of 

ha^vlour^Vom ^pei'ns the first class Specially empoAvered by thd 

disseminating sedi- Lfj^al Government in this behalf, has infor- 

tious matter. . . . . 

mation that there is witnm the limits ot his 
jurisdiction any person who, within or without such limits, 
either orally or in writing, disseminates or attempts to dissemin- 
ate, or in any wise abets the dissemination of, — 

(a) any seditious matter, that is to say, any matter the 
publication of which is punishable under section 
124A of the Indian Penal Code, or 
(h) any matter the publication of which is punishable 

under section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, or 
(c) any matter concerning a Judge which amounts to cri- 
minal intimidation or defamation under the Indian 
Penal Code^ 
such Magistrate may (in manner hereinafter provided) 
require such person to show cause why he should not be ordered 
to execute a bond, with or without sureties, for his good beha- 
viour for such period, not exceeding one year, as the Magistrate 
thinks fit to fix. 

No proceedings shall be taken under this section against the 
editor, proprietor, printer or publisher of any publication regis- 
tered under, or printed, or published in coaformity with the 
riiles laid down in the Press and Registration of Books Act, 
1867, except by the order or under the authority of the Gov- 
ernor-General in Council, or the Local Government, or some 
officer empowered by the Governor-General in Council in this 
behalf." 



PREVENTION OF SEDITIOUS MEETINGS ACT. 
ACT VI OF 1907. 

PASSED BY THE GOVERKOR-GENEEAL OF IXDIA IN COUNCIL. 

{Received the assent of the Governor-General on the \st November 

1907). 

An Act to make better provision for the prevention of public 
meetings likely to promote sedition or to cause a disturbance 
of public tranquillity. 

WHEREAS it is expedient to make better provision for tke 
prevention of public meetings likely to promote sedition or to 
cause a disturbance cf public tranquillity ; It is Lereb}^ enacted 
us follows : — 
Short title and es- 1- (^) ^his Act may be called tke Pre- 

sent, vention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1907. 

( v) It extends to the whole of British India, but shall have 
operation only in such Provinces as the Governor-General in 
Council may from time to time notif}'' in the Gazette of India. 

2. (i) The Local Government may, by, notification in the 
Power of Local Gov- ^<^cal official Gazette, declare the whole or 

ernmcnt to notify pro- any part of a Province, in which this Act is 

claimed areas. t i • 

for the time being in operation, to be a 
proclaimed area. 

{2) A notification made under sub-section {!) shall not re- 
main in force for more than six months, but nothing in this sub- 
section shall be deemed to prevent the Local Government from 
making any further notifications in respect of the same area 
from time to time as it may think fit. 

3. (?) In this Act, the expression "public meeting" 
Definition meaus a meeting which is open to the pub- 
lic or any class or portion of the public. 

{2) A meeting may be a public meeting notwithstanding 
that it is held in a private place and notwithstanding that ad- 
mission thereto may have been restricted by ticket or otherwise. 



256 THE LAW OF SEUITION. 

{o) A meeting of more than twenty persons shall be pre- 
sumed to be a public meeting within the meaning of this Act un- 
til the contrary is proved. 

4. {1) No public meeting for the furtherance or discus- 
sion of any subject likely to cause distur- 
of'publie'meetuigs" bance or public excitement or of any politi- 
cal subject or for the exhibition or distribu- 
tion of any writing or printed matter relating to any such 
subject shall be held in any proclaimed area — 

(a) unless written notice of the intention to hold such 
meeting and of the time and place of such meeting 
has been given to the District Superintendent of 
Police or the Commissioner of Police, as the case 
may be, at least three days previously ; or 
(h) unless permission to hold such mfceting has been ob- 
tained in writing from the District Superintendent 
of Police or the Commissioner of Police, as the case 
may be. 
( .') Any officer of Police, net below the rank of an Ins- 
pector, may, by order in writing, depute one 
^"Tke^report.' ^^ ^r more Police-officers or other persons to 
attend any such meeting for the purpose cf 
causing a report to be taken of the proceedings. 

(o) Nothing in this section shall apply to any public meet- 
ing held under any statutory or other express 

Exception. , , i • i ,• • 

legal authority or to public meetings conven- 
ed by a Sheriff or to any public meetings or class of public meet- 
ings exempted for that purpose by the Local Government by 
general or special order. 

5. The District Magistrate or the Commissioner of Police,' 

as the case may be, may at any time by 

"^X^^' order in writing, of which public notice 

shall forthwith be given, prohibit any public 

meeting in a proclaimed area if, in his opinion, such meeting 

is likely to promote sedition or disaffection or to cause a 

disturbance of the public tranquillity. 

6. (/) Any person concerned in the promotion or con- 
p^^ ,,. duct of a public meeting held in a pro- 
claimed area contrary to the provisions of 



APPENDIX. 257 

section 4 shall be punished with imprisonment for a term 
which may extend to six months, or with iine or with both. 

{2} Any public meeting which has been prohibited under 
section 5 shall be deemed to be an unlawful assembly within 
the meaning of Chapter VIII of the Indian Penal Code and of 
Chapter IX of tha Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. 

7. Whoever, in a proclaimed area, in a public place or a 
Penalty for delivery P^^^^ ^^ public resort, otherwise than at a 
of speeches in public public meeting held in accordance with, or 
^ ^ ' exempted from, the provisions of section i^ 

without the permission in writing of the Magistrate of the 
District or of the Commissioner of Police, as the case may be, 
previously obtained, delivers any lecture, address or speech on 
any subject likely to cause disturbance or public excitement or 
on any political subject, to persons then present, may be 
arrested without warrant and shall be punished with imprison- 
ment for a term which may extend to six months, or with line, 
or with both. 

^ , 8. (^) The Eegulation of Meetings 

Ordinance, 1907, is hereby superseded. 
(-) Nothing contained in this Act shall afiect — 
the previous operation of the said Ordinance or anything 

duly done or sufiered thereunder ; or 
any obligation or liability incurred under the said Ordi- 
nance; or 
any punishment incurred in respect of any oiience commit- 
ted against the said Ordinance ; or 
any investigation or legal proceeding in respect of any such 
obligation, liability or punishment as aforesaid ; 

and any such investigation or legal proceeding may be institut- 
ed or continued and any such punishment may be imposed as if 
the said Ordinance had not been superseded or had not expired. 

9. This Act shall continue in force until the expiration 
of three years next after the passing 

Duration of Act. -^ f & 

thereof. 



D, LS 17 



NEWSPAPERS (INCITEMENTS TO OFFENCES) ACT. 
ACT VII OF 1908. 

PASSED BY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF INDIA IN COUNCIL. 

{Received the assent of the Governor-General on the Sth June, 1908.) 

An Act for the prevention of incitements to murder and 
to otter offences in newspapers. 

WHEREAS it is 'expedient to make better provision for the 
prevention of incitements to murder and to other offences in 
newspapers ; It is hereby enacted as follows : — 

, , , 1. U) This Act may be called the 

Short title and extent. ,-r ■ ^^ 

JNewspapers (Incitements to Offences) Act, 
1908. 

(3) It extends to the whole of British India. 

2. (i) In this Act, unless there is 

Definitions. , . ' . ' 

anything repugnant m the subject or 
context, — 

(a) ' ' Magistrate ' ' means a District Magistrate or Chief 

Presidency Magistrate : 
(6) "newspaper" means any periodical work containing 

public news or comments on public news : 
(c) "printing-press" includes all engines, machinery, 
types, lithographic stones, implements, utensils and 
other plant or materials used for the purpose of 
printing. 
(2) Save as herein otherwise provided all words and ex- 
pressions in this Act shall have the same meanings as those res- 
pectively assigned to them in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 
1898. 

3. (/) In cases where, upon application made by order 

Power to forfeit oi or under authority from the Local 

printing presses in Government, a Magistrate is of opinion that 

a newspaper printed and published within 



APPENDIX. 259 

the Province contains &n.j incitement to murder or to any 
ofience under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908, or to any 
act of violence, such Magistrate may make a conditional order 
declaring the printing press "used, or intended to be used, for 
th.e purpose of printing or publishing such newspaper, or found 
in or upon the premises where such newspaper is, or at the 
time of the printing of the matter complained of was, printed 
and all copies of such newspaper, wherever found, to be for- 
feited to His Majesty, and shall in such order state the material 
facts and call on all persons concerned to appear before him, 
at a time and place to be fixed by the order, to show cause why 
the order should not be made absolute. 

(~) A copy of sach order shall be fixed on some conspicuous 
patt of the premises specified in the declaration made in respect 
of such newspaper under section 5 of the Press and Eegistration 
of Books Act, 1867, or of any other premises in which such news- 
paper is printed, and the affixing of such copy shall be deemed 
to be due service of the said order on all persons concerned. 

(J) In cases of emergency or in cases where the purposes 
of the application might be defeated by delay the Magistrate 
may, on or after the making of a conditional order under sub- 
section (i), make a further order ex parte for the attachment of 
the printing press or other property referred to in the conditional 
order. 

(4) If any person concerned appears and shows cause 
against the conditional order, the Magistrate shall take evidence, 
whether in support of or in opposition to such order, in manner 
provided in section 356 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. 

(5) If the Magistrate is satisfied that the newspaper con- 
tains matter of the nature specified in sub-section {!), he shall 
make the conditional order of forfeiture absolute in respect of 
such property as he may find to be within the terms of the said 
sub-section. 

(6') If the Magistrate is not so satisfied, he shall set aside 
the conditional order of forfeiture and the order of attachment, 
if any. 



260 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

4. (i) The Magistrate may by Avarraut empower any 

Police-officer not below the rank of a Sub- 
Power to seize. . i i , • 

Inspector to seize and detain any property 

ordered to be attached under section 3, sub-section {o), or to 
seize and carry away any property ordered to be forfeited 
under section 3, sub-section {o), wherever found and to enter 
upon and search for such property in any premises — 

(a) where the newspaper specified in such warrant is 

printed or published, or 
(6) where any such property may be or may be reason- 
ably suspected to be, or 
(c) where any copy of such newspaper is kept for sale, 
distribution, publication or public exhibition or 
reasonably suspected to be so kept. 

(2) Every warrant issued under sub-section (i) so far as> 
it relates to a search shall be executed in manner provided for 
the execution of search-wairants by the Code of Criminal Pro- 
cedure, 1898. 

5. Any person concerned Avho has appeared and shown 

cause against a conditional order of forfei- 
Appeal. 1 r^ ■ I • 

tuie may appeal to the High Court within 

fifteen days from the date when such order is made absolute. 

6. Save as provided in section 5, no order duly made by a 
Bar of other pro- Magistrate under section 3 shall be called 

ceediDgs. ^^ question in any Court. 

7. Where an order of forfeiture has been made absolute 

in relation to any newspaper the Local Gov- 

Power to annul de- , , •■!•,•• i.i- i i 

ciaration under Press ernment may, by notification in the local 

and Registration of official Gazette, annul any declaration made 

Books Act, 186 K •' 

by the printer or publisher of such news- 
paper under the Press and Kegistration of Books Act, 1867, 
and may by such notification prohibit any further declaration 
being made or subscribed under the said Act in respect of 
the said newspaper, or of any newspaper which is the same 
in substance as the said newspaper, until such prohibition be 
withdrawn. 



APPENDIX. 261 

8. Any person who prints or publishes any newspaper 

specified in any prohibition notified under 

section 7 during the continuance of that 

prohibition shall be liable, on conviction, to the penalties 

prescribed by section 15 of the Press and Eegistration of 

Books Act, 1867. 

9. All proceedings under this Act shall be conducted so 

far as may be in accordance with the pro- 
Application of Code . . J, , ^ -, t rt ■ ■ 1 T\ ^ 

ofCriminal Procedure. Visions 01 the Code oi Criminal rrocedure, 

1898. 

10. No proceedings taken under this Act shall operate to 
Operation of other prevent any person from being prosecuted 

laws not barred. f^^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^ constitutes an offence 

under anv other law. 



THE INDIAN PRESS ACT. 
ACT I OF 1910. 

PASSED BY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF INDIA IN COUNCIL. 

{Received the assent of the Govertior-General on the 9th February. 

1910.) 

An Act to provide for the better control of the Press. 

AVHEREAS it is necessary to provide for the be tte r control 
o f the Pr ess ; It is hereby enacted as follows : — 

Short title and 1- (^) This Act may be called the- 

extent. lndia.n Press Act, 1910. 

('^) It extends to the whole of British India, inclusive of 
British Baluchistan, the Santhal Parganas and the Pargana of 
Spiti. 

2. In this Act, unless there is anything 

Definitions. J & 

repugnant m the subject or context, — 

{a) "book" includes every volume, part or division of a 
volume, and pamphlet, in any language, and every 
sheet of music, map, chart or plan separately printed 
or lithographed : 

(6) "document" includes also any painting, drawing oir 
photograph or other visible representation : 

(c) "High Court" means the highest Civil Court of Appeal 

for any local area except in the case of the Provinces 
of Ajmei-Merwara and Coorg where it means the 
High Court of Judicature for the North- Western 
Provinces and the High Court of Judicature at 
Madras respectively : 

(d) "Magistrate" means a District Magistrate or Chief 

Presidency Magistrate : 
(c) "newspaper" means any periodical work containing 

public news or comments on public news: and 
(/) "printing-press" includes all engines, machinery, 

types, lithographic stones, implements, utensils and 



APPENDIX. 263 

other plant or materials used for the purpose of 
printing. 

3. (1) Every person keeping a printing-press who is 

required to make a declaration under section 
Deposit of security 4 ^f ^Ije Press and Eegistration of Books Act, 

by keepers of printing- . 

presses, 1867, shall, at the tmie of making the same, 

deposit with the Magistrate before whom the 
declaration is made security to such an amount, not being 
less than five hundred or more than two thousand rupees, as 
the Magistrate may in each case think fit to require, in money 
or the equivalent thereof in securities of the Government 
of India : 

Provided that the Magistrate may, if he thinks fit, for 
special reasons to be recorded by him, dispense with the deposit 
of any security or may from time to time cancel or vary any 
order under this sub-section. 

(;i?) ^\^l.euever it appears to the Local Government that 
any printing-press kept in any place in the territories under its 
administration, in respect of which a declaration was made 
prior to the commencement of this Act under section 4 of the 
Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, is used for any 
of the purposes described in section 4, sub-section {!), the 
Local Government may, by notice in writing, require the 
keeper of such press to deposit with the Magistrate within 
whose jurisdiction the press is situated security to such au 
amount, not being less than five hundred or more than five 
thousand rupees, as the Local Government may think fit 
to require, in money or the equivalent thereof in securities of the 
Government of India. 

4. (-?) Whenever it appears to the Local Government that 
any printing-press in respect of which any security has been 

deposited as required by section 3 is used for 
seS/ for°feit^eT^''in ^^^^ Purpose of printing Or publishing any 
certain cases. newspaper, book or other document contain- 

ing any words, signs or visible representations 
which are likely or may have a tendency, directly or indirectly^ 
whether by inference, suggestion, allusion, metaphor, implication 
or otherwise — 



264 ' THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

(a) to incite to murder or to any offence under the Explo- 
sive Substances Act, 1908, or to any act of violence, 
or 

(6) to seduce any officer, soldier or sailor in the Army or 
Navy of His Majesty from his allegiance or his duty, 
or 

(c) to bring into hatred or contempt His Majesty or the 

Government established by law in British India 
or the administration of justice in British India or 
any Native Prince or Chief under the suzerainty of 
His Majesty, or any cl ass or sect i on of_ ^5is 
Majesty^.Si, .subjeG 3bs--JiLjBritis h Ind ia, or, to excite 
disaffection towards His Majesty or t he said Govern- 
ment or any such Prince or Chief, or . 

(d) to put any person in fear or to cause annoyance to him 

and thereby induce him to deliver to any person any 
property or valuable security, or to do any act which 
he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act, 
which he is legally entitled to do, or 

(e) to encourage or incite any person to interfere with the 

administration of the law or with the maintenance 
of law and order, or 
(/) to convey any threat of injury to a public servant, 
or to any person in whom that public servant is 
believed to be interested, with a view to inducing 
that public servant to do any act or to forbear or 
delay to do any act connected with the exercise of 
his public functions, 
the Local Government may, by notice in writing to the keeper 
of such printing-press, stating or describing the words, signs 
or visible representations which in its opinion are of the nature 
described above, declare the security deposited in respect of 
such press and all copies of such newspaper, book or other docu- 
ment wherever found to be forfeited to His Majesty. 

Ex2)lanation I. — In clause (c) the expression "disaffection" 
includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity. 

Explanation II. — Comments expressing disapproval of the 
measures of the Government or of any such Native Prince or 
Chief as aforesaid with a view to obtain their alteration bv 



APPENDIX. 



265 



lawful means, or of the administrative or other action of the 
Government or of any such Native Prince or Chief or of the 
administration of justice in British India witliaut- o xciting -or ^ 
attempting ta_.exdte^«te^ disafiection do not>^^ 

come within the scope of clause (c). 

(5) After the expiry of ten days from the date of the issue 
of a notice under sub-section {!), the declaration made in respect 
of such press under section 4 of the Press and Registration of 
Books Act, 1867, shall be deemed to be annulled. 

5. A^Tiere the security given in respect of any press has 

been declared forfeited under section 4, every 
^^^securiy!""*''^' person making a fresh declaration in respect 

of such press under section 4 of the Press and 
Registration of Books Act, 1867, shall deposit with the Magis- 
trate before whom such declaration is made security to such 
amount, not being less than one thousand or more than ten 
thousand rupees, as the Magistrate may think fit to require, 
in money or the equivalent thereof in securities of the Govern- 
ment of India. 

6. If after such further security has been deposited the 

, , printine-press is again used for the purpose 

Power to declare ^ '^ ^ • t • 

further security, print- of printing or publishmg any newspaper, 
£s fm^eited.''''^'''^ ^ook or other document containing any 
words, signs or visible representations which 
in the opinion of the Local Government are of the nature 
described in section 4, sub-section (?), the Local Government 
)uay, by notice in writing to the keeper of such printing-press, 
stating or describing such words, signs or visible representations, 
declare — 

(a) the further security so deposited, 

(6) the printing-press used for the purpose of printing or 

]3ublishing such newspaper, book or other document, 
or found in or upon the premises where such news- 
paper, book or other document is, or at the time of 
printing the matter complained of was, printed, and 
(c) all copies of such newspaper, book or other document 
wherever found, 

to be forfeited to His Majesty. 



26('> THE LAW OP SEUmON. 

7. {J) Where any printing-press is or any copies of any 

newspaper, book or other document are de- 
^'■'"wafranr''^" ^'^^^^ forfeited to His Majesty under this 
Act, the Local Government may direct any 
Magistrate to issue a warrant empowering any police-ofl&cer, not 
below the rank of Sub-Inspector, to seize and detain any pro- 
perty ordered to be forfeited and to enter upon and search for 
such property in any premises — 

(i) where any such property may be or may be reasonably 

suspected to be, or 
(ii) \vhere any copy of such newspaper, book or other docu- 
ment is kept for sale, distribution, publication or pub- 
lic exhibition or reasonably suspected to be so kept. 
('?) Every warrant issued under this section shall, so far 
as relates to a search, be executed in manner provided for the 
execution of search-waiTants under the Code of Criminal Proce- 
dure, 1898. 

8, (J) Every publisher of a newspaper who is required 

to make a declaration under section 5 of the 
pubfi^w oVn'^wSX Press and Eegistration of Books Act, 1867, 
shall, at the time of making the same, 
deposit with the Magistrate before whom the declaration is 
made security to such an amount not being less than five hundred 
or more than two thousand rupees, as the Magistrate may in 
each case think fit to require, in money or the equivalent 
thereof in securities of the Government of India : 

Provided that if the person registered under the said Act 
&o printer of the newspaper is also registered as the keeper of 
the press where the newspaper is printed, the publisher shall 
not be required to deposit security so long as such registration 
is in force : 

Provided further that the Magistrate may, if he thinks fit,' 
for special reasons, to be recorded by him, dispense with the 
deposit of any security or may from time to time cancel or vary 
any order under this sub-section. 

(;?) Whenever it appears to the Local Government that 
a newspaper published within its territories, in respect of which 
a declaration was made by the publisher thereof prior to the 
commencement of this Act, under section 5 of the Press and 



APPENDIX. 



26T 



Registration of Books Act, 1867, contains any words, signs or 
visible reiJiesentations of the nature described in section 4, sub- 
section (i), the Local Government may, by notice in writings 
require the publisher to deposit with the Magistrate within whose 
jurisdiction the newspaper is published security to such an 
amount, not being less than five hundred or more than five 
thousand rupees, as the Local Government may think fit to re- 
quire, in money or the equivalent thereof in securities of the 
Government of India. 

9. (/) If any newspaper in respect of which any security 

has been deposited as required by section & 
Power to declare contains anv words, signs or visible represen- 

security lorfeitea in _ ". . . . 

cortaiu"cases. tations which in the opinion of the Local 

Government are of the nature described in 
section 4, sub-section (i),the Local Government may, by notice 
in writing to the publisher of such newspaper, stating or des- 
cribing such Avords, signs or visible representations, declare 
such security and all copies of such newspaper, wherever 
found, to be forfeited to His Majesty. 

(-) After the expiry of ten days from the date of the issue 
of a notice under sub-section (1), the declaration made by the 
publisher of such newspaper under section 5 of the Press and 
Registration of Books Act, 1867, shall be deemed to be annulled. 

10. "Where the security given in respect of any newspaper 

is declared forfeited, any person making a 
^^°seciirity."'^ °' ^'>^-^^'^ declaration under section 5 of the Press 

and Registration of Books Act, 1867, as 
publisher of such newspaper, or any other newspaper which is 
the same in substance as the said newspaper, shall deposit with 
the Magistrate before whom the declaration is made security 
to such amount, not being less than one thousand or more 
than ten thousand rupees, as the Magistrate may think fit to 
require, in money or the equivalent thereof in securities of 
the Government of India. 

11. If after such further security has been deposited the 

newspaper again contains any words, signs 
Power to declare qj. visible representations which in the opi- 

further security and ■ e ^ r^ j- i 

newspapers forfeited, nion of the Local Government are of the 
nature described in section 4, sub-section (-?)j 



268 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

the Local Government may, by notice in writing to the publish- 
er of such newspaper, stating or describing such words, signs or 
visible representations, declare — 

(a) the further -security so deposited, and 

(6) all copies of such newspaper wherever found, 
to be forfeited to His Majesty. 

12. {J) WhQXQ any newspaper, book or other document 
wherever printed appears to the Local Gov- 
tain"p.^licatTonr?:r: ernment to contain any words, signs or 
felted and to issne visible representations of the nature des- 
snme. ' cxibed in section 4, sub-sectiou (^), the Local 

Government may, by notification in the 
local official Gazette, stating the grounds of its opinion, declare 
such newspaper, book or other document to be forfeited to His 
Majesty, and thereupon any police-officer may seize the same 
wherever found, and any Magistrate may by warrant authorize 
any police-officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector to enter 
upon and search for the same in any premises where the 
newspaper, book or other document may be or may be reason- 
ably suspected to be. 

('') Every warrant issued under this section shall, so far 
as relates to a search, be executed in manner provided for the 
execution of search-warrants under the Code of Criminal Proce- 
dure, 1898. 

13. The Chief Customs-officer or other officer authorized 

by the Local Government in this behalf may 
Power to detain (jetain any package brought, whether by 

packages containins.' •' ^ . . . . 

certain publications land or sea, into British India which he sus- 

when imported into , , , • i i.„ ^„ 

British India. pects to contain any newspapers, books or 

other documents of the nature described in 
section 4, sub-section (/), and shall forthwith forward copies 
of any newspapers, books or other documents found therein 
to such officer as the Local Government may appoint in this 
behalf to be disposed of ia such manner as the Local Govera- 
ment may direct. 

14. No newspaper printed and published in British India 

shall be transmitted by post unless the 
nnSf 'by" ^o^'^of P^'^^ter and publisher have made a declara- 
certain newspapers. tion under section 5 of the Press and 



APPEiNDlX. 269 

Registration of Books Act, 1867, and the publisher has depos- 
ited security when so required under this Act. 

15. Any officer in charge of a post-office or authorised 

by the Post-Master General in this behalf 
Power to detain arti- u^^y detain any article other than a letter 

cles being transmittea 

by post, or parcel in course of transmission by postj 

which he suspects to contain— 
(«) any newspaper, book or other document containing 
words, signs or visible representations of the nature 
described in section 4, sub-section (1), or 
(6) any newspaper in respect of which the declaration 
required by section 5 of the Press and Eegistration 
of Books Act, 1867, has not been made, or the secu- 
rity required by this Act has not been deposited 
by the publisher thereof, 
and shall deliver all such articles to such officer as the Local 
Government may appoint in this behalf to be disposed of in such 
manner as the Local Government may direct. 

16. (?) The printer of every newspaper in British India 

shall deliver at such place and to such officer 

(Jopies of newspapers . i t i n , i • ^ 

printed in iJritish 'AS the Local bovernment may, by notmca- 

gSil S t^:::t. ^^^^ ^^ t^« ^^c^^ ^^^^^^ Gazette, direct, and 
free of expense to the Government, two 
copies of each issue of such newspaper as soon as it is published. 
{i^) If any printer of any such newspaper neglects to deli- 
ver copies of the same in compliance with sub-section {1), he 
shall, on the complaint of the officer to whom the copies should 
have been delivered or of any person authorised by that officer 
in this behalf, be punishable on conviction by a Magistrate hav- 
ing jurisdiction in the place where the newspaper was printed 
with fine which may extend to fifty rupees for every default. 

IT. Any person having an interest in any property in 

respect of which an order of forfeiture has 

Application to High been made under section 4, 6, 9, 11 or 12 

Court to set aside 

order of forfeiture, may, within two months from the date of 

such order,, apply to the High Court to sat 

as ide s uch_ order on f,li£. .-gjuiund tha.t the newspaper, boak~oi 

other document in respect of which the order was made did not 



270 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

contain any words, signs or visible iepiesentatioi:s of the 
nature described in section 4, sub-section (^). 

18. Every sach application shall be heard and determined 

by a Special Bench of the High Court com- 

^^^"Bln^ch.^^'"''^ posed of three Judges, or, where the High 

Court consists of less than three Judges, of 

all the JudgCb. 

19. (i) If it appears to the Special Bench that the words, 

signs or visible representations contained 
Order of Special in the newspaper, book or other document 

Bench setting aside . j. j- i • i j.i j • 4.- 

forfeiture. lEL respect 01 ^Yhlch the order in question 

was made were not of the nature described 
in section 4, sub-section {!), the Special Bench shall set aside 
the order of forfeiture. 

(^) Where there is a difference of opinion among the 
Judges forming the Special Bench, the decision shall be in 
accordance with the opinion of the majority (if an\) of those 
Judges. 

(-5) Where there is no such majority which concurs in 
setting aside the order in ((uestion, such order shall stand. 

20. On the hearing of any such application with reference 

to any newspaper, any copy of such news- 

nafJre "TendLrof ^^^P^!' V^^^^^^^d ^i|r_th^_comi2ieB£e^ 
newspapers, of this Act may be given in eviHericp. in aid 

of the proof of th,^ ri?^tjire or ten^eftcy^ f 
the words, signs or visible representations contained in such 
newspaper which are alleged to be of the nature described in 
section 4, sub-section (i). 

21. Every High Court shall, as soon as conveniently may 

be, frame rules to regulate the procedure 
^°^^ cwt? '^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^® ^^ ^^^^ applications, the amount 

of the costs thereof and the execution of 
orders passed thereon, and until such rules are framed the prac- 
tice of such Court in proceedings other than suits and appeais 
shall apply, so far as may be practicable, to such applications. 

22. Every declaration of forfeiture purporting to be made 

,.,... , , under this Act shall, as against all persons, 
JunsdictioD barred. . " <• r • 

be conclusive evidence that the forfeiture 



APPENDIX. 271 

therein referred to has taken place, and no proceeding pur- 
porting to be taken under this Act shall be called in question 
by any Court, except the High Court on such application as 
aforesaid, and no civil or criminal proceeding except as 
provided by this Act, shall be instituted against any person 
for anything done or in good faith intended to be done under 
this Act. >• 

23. (!) Whoever keeps in his possession a press for the 

printing of books or papers without malting 

PenaUy for keening j •- j j.- o 4.- r -l 

press or publishing a deposit Under section 6 or section 5, when 
newspaper without rgfrnired SO to do. shall on conviction by a 

making deposit. ^ _ -^ 

Magistrate be liable to the penalty to which 
he would be liable if he had failed to make the declaration 
prescribed by section 4 of the Press and Registration of Books 
Act, 1867. 

(3) Whoever publishes any newspaper without making 
a deposit under section 8 or section 10, when required so to do, 
or publishes such newspaper knowing that such security has not 
been deposited, shall, on conviction by a Magistrate, be liable to 
the penalty to which he would be liable if he had failed to make 
the declaration prescribed by section 5 of the Press and Registra- 
tion of Books Act, 1867. 

24. Where any person has deposited any security under 

this Act and ceases to keep the press in res- 
Return of deposited pg^t of which such security was deposited, 

security in certain ^ . i i- i i it 

cases. 01, being a publisher, makes a declaration 

under section 8 of the Press and Regis- 
tration of Books Act, 1867, he may apply to the Magistrate 
within whose jurisdiction such press is situate for the leturn 
of the said security ; and thereupon such security shall, upon 
' proof to the satisfaction of the Magistrate and subject to the 
provisions hereinbefore contained, be returned to such person. 

25. Every notice under this Act shall be sent to a Magis- 

trate, who shall cause it to be served in the 
Service of notices. manner provided for the service of sum- 
monses under the Code of Criminal Pro- 
cedure, 1898. 



272 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

26. Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to prevent 
any person from being prosecuted under any 

Operation of other .■> ^ c , • • , . . 

laws not barred. other law lor any act or omission which 
constitutes an offence against this Act. 



PREVENTION OF SEDITIOUS MEETINGS ACT, 1911. 
ACT X OF 1911. 

PASSED BY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL IN COUNCIL. 

(Received the assent of tJie Governor-General on the 22nd 
March 1911.) 

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the 
prevention of public meetings likely to promote sedition or to 
cause a disturbance of public tranquillity. 

WHEREAS it is expedient to consolidate and amend the 
law relating to the prevention of public meetings likely to pro- 
mote sedition or to cause a disturbance of public tranquillity ; It 
is hereby enacted as follows : — 

1. {!) This Act may be called the 

^''"'^il^it'''"'^"''' Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 

1911. 

{2) It extends to the Avhole of British India, but shall have 

operation only in such Provinces or parts of Provinces as the 

Governor- General in Council may from time to time notify in 

the Gazette of India. 

2. (i) The Local Government may, with the previous 

sanction of the Governor- General in Council, 
enfSto noti/y^pro: ^7 notification in the local official Gazette, 
claimed aioas. declare the whole or any part of a Province, 

in which this Act is for the time being in 
operation, to be a proclaimed area. 

(-) A notification made under sub-section (1) shall not re- 
main in force for more than six months, but nothing in this sub- 
section shall be deemed to prevent the Local Government, with 
the previous sanction of the Governor- General in Council, from 
making any further notifications in respect of the same area from 
time to time as it may think fit. 

3. (-?) In this Act, the expression " public meeting " 

means a meeting which is open to the pub- 
lic or any class or portion of the public. 



2726 THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

{■^) A meeting may be a public meeting notwithstanding 
that it is held in a private place and notwithstanding that admis- 
sion thereto may have been restricted by ticket or otherwise. 

4. (1) No public meeting for the furtherance or discussion 

of any subject likely to cause disturbance 
^pubHc°meeMngs ""^ ^^ P"^^^^ excitement or for the exhibition or 
distribution of any writing or printed mat- 
ter relating to any such subject shall be held in any proclaimed 

area — 

• 

(a) unless written notice of the intention to hold such 
meeting and of the time and place of such meet- 
ing has been given to the District Magistrate or 
the Commissioner of Police, as the case may be, 
at least three days previously ; or 

(6) unless permission to hold such meeting has been ob- 
tained in writing from the District Magistrate or 
the Commissioner of Police, as the case may be. 

(2) The District Magistrate or any Magistrate of the first 

class authorized by the District Magistrate 

Power of Magistrate i^ this behalf may, by order in writing, 

to cause report to be j ' j o' 

taken. depute One or more Police-officers, not being 

below the rank of Head Constable, or other 
persons to attend any such meeting for the purpose of causing 
a report to be taken of the proceedings. 

(-5) Nothing in this section shall apply to any public meet- 
j,^ ,. ing held under any statutory or other ex- 

press legal authority or to public meetings 
convened by a Sheriff or to any public meetings or class of public 
meetings exempted for that purpose by the Local Government 
by general or special order. 

5. The District Magistrate or the Commissioner of Police, 

as the case may be, may at any time, by 
p^ubtic me^e't^ngs! Order in writing of which public notice shalf 

forthwith be given, prohibit any public 
meeting in a proclaimed area if, in his opinion, such meeting is 
.likely to promote sedition or disaffection or to cause a disturbance 
of the public tranquillity. 



APPENDIX. 272c 

6. (^) Any person concerned in the promotion or conduct 

of a public meeting held in a proclaimed 
area contrary to the provisions of section 4 
shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may ex- 
tend to six months, or with fine, or with both. 

{3) Any public meeting which has been prohibited under 
section 5 shall be deemed to be an unlawful assembly within the 
meaning of Chapter VIII of the Indian Penal Code and of Chapter 
IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898. 

7. Whoever, in a proclaimed area, in a public place or a 

place of public resort, otherwise than at a 
Penalty for delivery public meeting held in accordance with, or 

of speeches in public ... 

places. exempted from, the provisions of section 4, 

without the permission in writing of the 
Magistrate of the District or of the Commissioner of Police, as 
the case may be, previously obtained delivers any lecture, ad- 
dress or speech on any subject likely to cause disturbance or 
public excitement to persons there present, may be arrested 
without warrant and shall be punished with imprisonment 
for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or 
with both. 

8. No Court inferior to that of a Presidency Magistrate 

or of a Magistrate of the first class or Sub- 
offences, divisional Magistrate shall try any offence 
against this Act. 

9. The Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1907, and 
Repeals. *^^ Continuing Act, 1910, are hereby re- 
pealed. 



STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS. 

1. The Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1907, which 
was continued by the Continuing Act, 1910, until the thirty-first 
day of March 1911, will expire on the last-named date unless 
further continued. It is now deemed advisable, instead of mere- 
ly continuing or making permanent the existing Act, to introduce 
a Bill to consolidate and amend the law relating to the prevention 
of public meetings likely to promote sedition or to cause distur 
bance of public tranquillity. 



2T2d THE LAW OF SEDITION. 

2. The following are the main points in respect of which 
the provisions of the Bill difier from those of the existing Act. — 

Section 2. — Notifications of proclaimed areas, and the mak- 
ing of further notifications are to be subject to the previous sanc- 
tion of the Governor-General in Council. 

Section 3. — Clause (3) of this section is omitted. 

Section 4 (1). — The words " or of any political subject " are 
omitted. 

Section 4(1), (a) and (6). — The words " District Magistrate ' ' 
are substituted for the words " District Superintendent of Po- 
lice." 

Section 4 (2). — The words " The District Magistrate or any 
Magistrate of the first class authorised by the District Magistrate 
in this behalf " are substituted for the words " Any officer of 
Police, not below the rank of an Inspector." 

Section 7. — The words "or on any political subject " are 
omitted. 



J. L. JENKINS. 

The lUh March 1911. 



GENERAL INDEX. 



Page. 



122, 132— 1S5 

122, 125—132 

122—125 

122—135 

166, 172 

33—39, 41 



Abetment— 

by aid 

by conspiracy 

by instigation 

of sedition 

of cognate offences 

Act- 
Age of Consent 
Amending Penal Code , . 

1—9, 60—69. 162—171 
Dramatic Performances 

186—188, 250 
Lord Campbell's . . 88. 89, 96 
Indian Press, of 1910 .. 262 
Newspapers (Incitements), 

of 1908 . . . . 258 

Press and Registration of 

Books, 1867 85—93, 

182. 185,241 
Prevention of Seditious 

Meetings, 1907 133, 255 

Security for good beha- 
viour, 1898 .. 211,254 
Vernacular Press, 1878 189—207 
Vernacular Pi-ess Repeal- 
ing, 1882 .. 207—210 

Action or Acts— 
of Government. 

See Comments. 
of persons, 

See Gondnrt. 

Adamson. Sir H.— 

speech of, on Newspapers 
(Incitements to Offences) 
Bill . . 223—227 

speech of, on Seditious 

Meetings Bill 217—220 

D, LS 



Age of Consent- 
See Art. 

Almon— 

trial of 

Anaba Prasad— 

case of 



Page. 



95 



-58 



Amendment— 

of Criminal Pro. Code .. 211 
of Penal Code 60—70, 163—173 
of Press Act, 1878. . 203—207 



Animus- 
proof of 



104—108, 132, 156 



Arbuthnot, Sir A — 

speech of, on Pi-ess Bill, 

1878 .. .. 189—194 
speech of, on amendment 



of it 



203—205 



Appeal— 

right of .,. 116, 117, 


166, 167 


Attempt — 




defined 


78 


to excite disaffection 


77—79 


B. 




Backergunge— 




prohibited area of 


.. 133 



Baker, Sir B.— 

remarks of 



221 



^ 



ande Mataram Case 82, 92, 

112, 119, 145, 146 
Bangobasi Case . . 33 — 41, 85, 

102 

i^,„.^rtabaha Cases 93, ]03, 

106, 152—156, 167, 168 

18 



274 



GENERAL INDEX. 



Page. 
Batty, Justice- 
charge to jury of 143 — 144 
observations of . . 74, 78, 82, 
91, 101 
Best, Justice- 
dictum of .. .. 27,80 

BhalaCase .. 140—144 

Bhaskar— 

trial of .. 90. 140—144 

Bill- 

See Ad. 

Book- 
seditious, defined . . 106 

Bookseller- 
liability of . . . . 95 

Bose— 

Apurba Krishna, 

See Bande Mnfnrnm. 
Jogendra Chandra, 

See BangoboM. 

Boycott- 
gospel of . . . . . . 129 

British India— 
the Government of . . 32, 41 

Buller, Justice- 
dictum of 

Burns- 
trial of . . 



76 
21—29 



C. 



Canning, Lord- 
speech of, on Press Bill 182 

Cave, Justice- 
charge to jury of 22 — 29 

Chalmers, Hon'ble Mr.— 

speeches of . . 60 — 65, 

163—165, 109-171, 211 

Chancellor, Ijord— 

See Privy Coimc.U. 

Chandavarkar, Justice— 

obsei-vations of 106, 1.50, 215 

Chidambaram Pillai s Case 

126—132 



Page. 
Class - 

of newspaper . . . . 40 

of readers . . 40, 49 

of audience .. 113,114 

promoting enmity of 163 — 169 

legislation . . . . . . 193 

Cockburn, Sir A.— 

dictum of . . . . 90 

Code- 
See Penal Code. 

Collateral matter- 
when admissible 104—108. 132 



Cognate Offences 

Collins, C. J., Sir A- 

observations of . 

Colvile, C. J., Sir C. 

speech of . . 



163—173 



88 



184 



Comments- 

on action of Government 

15,48,71,98—101 
on measures of Govern- 
ment 1,3,7,9,30.48,98—101 
Common Law- 

scdition at . . 3, 4. 10—32 

Conduct- 
as evidence of intention 

11, 18, 26—29 
consequences of 14, 22. 27 — 29 

Conspiracy- 
seditious .. 11.29,126 

See Abetment. 

Cranbrooke, Lord- 
remarks of, on Press Act 204 

Criticism- 
See Gommentfi. 

Criminal Liability— 

of persons taking part 84 — 97 
joint and individual . . 84 

of printer or publisher 85 — 93 
when registered 85, 87, 88 — 91 
when not registered . . 86 
when publication is ad- 
mitted . . . . 86 
when publication is denied § 



GENERAL INDBX. 



275 



y 



PAaE. 
Criminal Liability -eo.i((<. 

of editor .. ..89,90 

of bookseller . . . . 95 

of news vendor . . . . 96 

of librarian . . . . 96 

of proprietor . . . . 85, 90 

Criminal Procedure Code- 
section 108 211, 254 

D. 

Deasy, Baron- 
charge to jury of . . 20 

Declaration— 

under Press Act, 1867 . . 

85—93, 181, 185, 242 

Dictum— 

of Lord Ellenborough . . 31 
of Lord Esher . . . . 75, 94 

of Lord Fitzgerald ..27, 111 

of Lord Holt . . . . 31 

of Lord Keuyou . . 15, 27 

of Lord Mansfield .. 13,76 

of Lord Tenterden . . 27, 81 

of Sir A. Cockburn . . 9.0 
of Sir M. Foster . . 13 

of Best, J 27 

of Bulbr, J 76 

of Erskine, J 84 

of Grose, J 126 

of Willes, J 125 

•isaflfection— 

meaning of . . 39, 40, 47, 

53—55, 59, 72—75 
exciting 1.8,9,11,16,17,41. 

48, 57, 58, 76 

Disapprobation — 

distinguished 1. 3, 39, 98—100 
of Government measures 

41, 48,54, 57, 71, 98—101 

Disloyalty- 
meaning of 47, 55, 58,73 

Dramatic Performances - 

See Act. 



Page, 

Eden, Sir Ashley- 
spa ch of .. .. 197 

Editor- 
See Criminal Liability. 

Edge, C J., Sir John- 
observations of 55, 59, 74, 101, 
105 

Elgin, Lord- 
speech of . . . , 70 

English Law— 

of sedition . . 3—6, 10—32 

Ellenborough, Lord - 
dictum of 



Emmens v. Pottle- 
case of 



31,83 
96 



Evans, Sir G.— 

speeches of . . 36, 67 — 69 

196, 212—214 

Esher, Lord- 
on publication . . . . 75, 94 

Explanation— 

to former section 124 A 9, 47, 

48, 54, 57, 59 
to amended section 124 A 

62, 63, 71, 72 



Parran. C J., Sir C- 

observations of 52 — 54, 74, 87, 
'14,118 

Fitzgerald, Lord- 
charge to jury of ^ 12 — 19 
cited . . 24^ 102, 198 

Fletcher, Justice- 
judgment of . . 156 — 162 

Freedom- 
See Libtrly. 

G. 
^Cranesh Damodar Savarkar— 
appeal of 106, 150—162 

General Exceptions— 9, 120 



276. 



GENERAL INDEX. 



y 



Ohose, Monmohan— 

See Kannajogin. 

Government- 
meaning of . . 31, 82, 83 
protected by section . . 82 
sanction of ..9, 117—120 

Gurakhi Case 89, 90, 136—139 



H. 



Hari Maiti— 




trial of 


.. 34,35 


Halsbury, Lord- 




See Privy Council. 




Her or His Majesty— 




See Sovereifjn. 




History - 




of Penal Law . . 


.. 1—9 


of Preventive Law 


174—188 



Hobhouse, Hon ble Mr.— 

speech on Dramatic Per- 
formances Act . . 186 — 188 
speech on Press Act, 1867 185 

Holt, Lord- 
dictum of 



Hossein— 

See Lfukut. 

Hunter, Sir W.- 

speech on repeal of 
Press Act 



31,83 



207—209 



Indian Press Act. 1910- 
provisions of, explained 

229—234 
events which led to 235—238 
in relation to other laws 240 

Incitements- 
See Acl. 

Intention— 

evidence of 18, 26—28. 41, 49, 

79—81 

importance of 14, 16, 18, 25, 

41, 49, 79—82 

seditious 10,11,23,25 



Page. 

Jenkins, C J., Sir L.- 

charges to jury of 137 — 139 

observations of 74, 75, 77, 81, 

89, 90, 100, 101, 103 

Journalism- 
Baron Deasy on . . 20 
Lord Fitzgerald on 14, 15, 17 
Sir James Stephen on 6 — 8 
Sir L. Jenkins on . . 100 
Justice Strachey on 98 — 100 
Justice Batty on . . 101 
Jugantar Case 92. 146-149 

Jury- 
functions of, in sedition 

cases 15 — 17 

character of, in 1822 . . 176 

K. 

Karmajogln Case 107, 156 — 162 

15, 27 



Kenyon. Lord 

dicta of 



Kesari- 

See Tilak. 



King- 



See Sovereign. 



Language— 

index to intention. 

See Condnrf. 
seditious. 
See Word''. 

Lansdowne. Lord- 
speech of . . . . 36. 37 

Leakut Hossein's Case 

105. 133—1.35, 168 

Liability- 
See CriwiiKil LIdhililif. 

Liberty— 

of Press 6, 14, 15, 20, 

60, 67, 69, 196, 198 

of spcccli .. .. 22 



GENERAL INDEX. 



277 



Libel- 
seditious 

Licenses- 
system of 
Luxman s Case 



Page. 
10—20 

179,181, 183, 185 
89, 136—138 



Page. 



N. 



Lytton, Lord— 

Press Act of, in 1878 . . 189 
speeches of 198—202, 205—207 

M. 

Macaulay, Lord- 
draft Penal Code of . . 1—3 
minutes of, in 1835 179—180 

Mackenzie, Sir A.— 

speech of . . . . 65 — 67 

Manbir— 

case of . . . . 172 

Mansfield, Lord- 
observations of . . . . 95 
cited 13,76 

Martin <. Trustees of 
British Museum • • 97 

Measures - 

See Commpnti. 

Meetings- 
Seditious, Act . . 133, 255 
attending . . . . 39 

Metcalfe, Sir Charles - 
minutes of, in 1835 179 — 181 

Minto. Lord- 
speeches of . . 222, 227 

Mischievous Reports- 
offence of circulating 169 — 172 

Mitter, PhanendraiNath— 

See Juganfar. 

Monmohan Ghose— 

case of, 

See Karmajogin. 

Munro, Sir Thomas- 
minute of, on Indian 

Press .. .. 174—178 



.y 



Native Press- 
referred to .,. (i() — 09, 
174—177, 182, 189—202, 
206—213. 221, 223—228, 

234—239 
See Vernacular. 

Newspapers Act— 

(Incitements to Offences). 
See Act. 
News vendors- 
liability of . . . . 9fi 
Nugent, Hon'ble Mr.— 

speech of . . . . 34 

ulkar Rao Bahadur- 
speech of . . . . 3,5 



Offence- 
cognate 
of sedition 



163- 



173 

-83 



71 
81.94 



Onus— 

of proving intention 
under Press Act of 1867 

85, 87, 90, 91, 92, 185 

Ordinances 178, 179, 187, 217 

Origin— 

of penal law . . . . 1 — 9 

of preventive law 174 — -179 

P. 

Parsons, Justice- 
observations of 52. 54, 74 

Paul. Sir Charles - 

speech of, on Press Bill. 

1878 .. .. |9.i_i90 

cited in 1898 . . . . 68 

Peacock Sir Barnes- 
draft Penal Code of . . 1 — :j 
letter of, to Mi-. Maine . . 2 

remarks on Press Bill . . 184 

Penal Code- 
original draft of, in 1837 
revised draft of, in 1857 
amended in 1870 
amended in 1898 



Penal Law^ 



1,2 
2,3 
.. 2—9 
60—70, 
163—173 
...1—173 



278 



GENERAL INDEX. 



Page. 
Petheram, C. J., Sir C— 

cited . . . . 85, 91, 135 

charge to jury of . . 39 — 41 

observations of 71, 74, 79, 83, 

85, 102, 140 

Pigott- 

trial of . . . . 12—20 

Prated— 

See Ramchandra. 

Press— 

legislation regarding 178 — 239 
Preventive Law- 
legislation regarding 174 — 240 

Prinsep, Hon'ble Mr.— 

minute of, in 1835 .. 180 

Printer- 
declaration by 85, 181, 185, 242 
liability of . . 85—93, 185 
security by . . . . 231 

Printing Press- 
declaration as to . . 181, 185 
security for . . . . 231 

Privy Council . • 42, 50 

Proprietor- 

of newspaper . . 85, 90 

of printing press . . . . 230 

See Criminal Liabilili/. 

Publication- 
defined . . . . 10, 75 
importance of . . . . 75 

Publisher- 
declaration by 85—93, 181, 185 
liability of . . 85—91, 185 
security by . . . . 231 

Punishment— 

j udicial directions as to 1 14 — 1 16 
rules as to . . 114, 116 



Q- 



Queen— 

Sec Sovereign. 



Race— 

See Class. 



Page. 
Ramasami i^. Loltanada- 

case of .. .. 87,91,92,97 

Ramchandra Narayan— 

appeal of . . 51 — 55, 87 

Rampini, Justice- 
charge to jury of . . 147 — 149 

Ranade, Justice- 
observations of 53,55,74,115 
Regina or Rex - 

V. Almon . . 95 

V. Burdett .. 27 

V. Brisac • . 126 

V. Burns ..21—29 

V. Cuthell .. 27 

V. Cobbett .. 31 

V. Collins .. 30 

V. Hurse . . 84 

V. Holbrook .. 89,90 

V. Mulcahy . . 125 

V. Tuchin . . 31 

Registration- 
system of . . 181, 182, 185 

Ripon Lord- 
remarks on repeal of Press 
Act of 1878 .. .. 209 

Risley, Sir H.— 

speech of, on Press Act, 1910. 

229—239 
Roy, Beni Bhusan- 

case of 



Republication— 

rule against 



127, 214 
14, 111, 112 



Sanction— 

of Government 9, ] 1 7 — 120, 

131, 165, 172,212 

Satara Case .. 51 — 55 

Scoble, Sir A.— 

speech of . . . . . . 34, 35 

Sedition - 

defined and analysed 71 — 83 

per Lord Fitzgerald . . 13 

per Stephen, J. . . 10, 11 

in 'Russell on Crimes' .. 11,12 

what is not .. 98—110 



GENERAL INDEX. 



279 



Page. 
Security— 

lor good behaviour under 

Press Acts 202, 211—215, 

231, 263 

Seditious Conspiracy- 
See Conspiracy. 

Seditious Meeting— 

at Common Law . . 29 

prevention of 217—222 

See Art. 

Seditious Libel - 

at Common Law . . 10 — 20 

Signs- 
exciting disaffection by .. 7L 7"i 

Slrkar, Joy Chandra- 
See Bartnbahrt. 

Sovereign- 
sedition against 30, 71 , 73, 82 

Speeches- 
mode of proving . . 128, 215 

Stage- 
See Dmmatir Perfnrmaiires. 

Statute Law— 

as to sedition . . 3, 4. 5 

Statements— 

conducing to mischief 109 — 172 

Stephen, Sir James- 
definition of sedition 10, 1 1 
speech on Bill in 1870 1—8 
cited 22, 23, 29, 59, 61, 64, 79 

Straehey, Justice- 
charge to jury , . 46 — 50 
observations of 59, 72, 74, 76, 
77, 79. 80, 83, 85, 86, 98, 99, 
100, 102, 109, 112, 117 
cited 50, 93, 118, 119, 156, 160 

Straehey, Sir John— 

speecli of . . . . 197 

Sullivan- 
trial of .. .. 12—19 

S-wadeshi— 

preacher on .. 126,130.133 

Swaraj or Swaraj y a— 

per Cliandavarkar, J. . . 1 27 



Page. 
Swaraj or Swarajya-fo,(^/. 

per Mitra, J. .. 127,215 

per Sir A. White, C. J. 128 

as rendered in Tilak's case 127 



T. 

Tenterden, Lord- 
dictum of 27, 81 



•Wlak- 

trial of 



42—50 



Translations- 
value of ... . . 109, 151 
incorrect .. .. 152,153 



V. 



Vaman— 

case of 



216 



Vernacular— 

Preso Act, 1878 60, 66, 69 

189—202 

amendment of .. 203—207 

repeal of . . .. 207—210 

Vinayek— 

trial of .. 90,136,138—140 

Visible representations- 
causing disaffection by 18, 
71, 75, 70, 262 

•w. 

Wilson, Sir A.— 



cited 



34 



White, C. J., Sir A.- 

observations of 105, 120, 

126—131 

Words- 
seditious 3,10,12.19.21—30, 
71,75. 127—130. 133—135 



Writing- 
seditious 



Yugantar— 

See Jugantar, 



. 10, 12,71,75 



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